The level of hunger in the developing world has declined by 29 percent since 2000. But that is by no means a reason to sit back. Levels of hunger are serious or alarming in 50 countries. Despite progress, the current pace of hunger reduction is not enough to achieve the goal Zero Hunger by 2030.
Around 795 million people are still facing hunger, roughly one in four children is affected by stunting, and eight percent of children are affected by wasting. In seven countries hunger levels are "alarming", in 43 countries they are "serious".
Regionally, the highest GHI scores, and therefore the highest hunger levels, are still found in Africa south of the Sahara. The Central African Republic and Chad have the highest GHI scores in this year’s report, coupled with relatively low percentage reductions in hunger since 2000. Civil wars and extreme weather events have taken a heavy toll on food production.
Further central facts and figures on global hunger:
- While no countries are classified in the "extremely alarming" category this year, this high level of hunger quite possibly could still exist. Due to insufficient data, 2016 GHI scores could not be calculated for 13 countries, including Burundi, Congo, Eritrea, Somalia, South Sudan and Sudan.
- Progress has been uneven, and great disparities in hunger continue to exist at the regional, national, and subnational levels.
- Some countries are left behind others in the same region. Haiti has a 2016 GHI score of 36.9, which places it in the "alarming" category, despite being in Latin America and the Caribbean – the region of the developing world with the lowest GHI score.
- On a subnational level, many countries show disparities in the distribution of undernutrition and child mortality – among them countries with "low" to "alarming" hunger scores. This applies to Mexico, Jordan, Cambodia, Sierra Leone and Sambia for example.
- From the 2000 GHI to the 2016 GHI, 22 countries reduced their scores by 50 percent or more. The three that achieved the biggest percentage reductions in hunger of all the countries in the serious and alarming categories are Myanmar, Rwanda, and Cambodia.
- "Zero Hunger" is possible, but governments must show more commitment and be held accountable.
Keeping promises: Zero Hunger by 2030
Africa south of the Sahara has achieved the largest absolute improvement since 2000 and South Asia has also seen a sizable reduction. However: The decline in hunger must urgently accelerate if the world is to achieve Zero Hunger by 2030. If hunger declines at the same rate as the report finds it has since 1992, more than 45 countries will still have "moderate" to "alarming" hunger scores in the year 2030.
The promise of Agenda 2030 for sustainable development is: Leave no-one behind. In order to eradicate hunger and poverty, the global community has to increase its efforts.
The Global Hunger Index gives policy recommendations in four areas:
- Make a Whole-of-Government Commitment to Zero Hunger
- Transform Our Food Systems to Transform Our World
- Leave No One Behind
- Measure, Monitor, and Hold to Account
Our Policy Recommendations
Germany must embrace its international responsibility and play its part in ensuring that all people have access to food of sufficient quantity and quality. This also involves changing our current patterns of production and consumption. Our recommendations include:
- Promote sustainability The German government and the EU must ensure that their policies contribute to sustainable food and nutrition security. The costs of the ecological and social impacts of intensive livestock farming (factory farming) should be covered by the producers and should also be reflected in the price of the products. This would help influence consumers to buy more products that have been produced locally and sustainably.
- Evaluating the Right to Food The consequences of decisions made in diverse policy areas should be systematically assessed as to their effects on food and nutrition security and the right to food in developing countries. For example, the effect of free trade and investment agreements on human rights and the environment should be independently assessed.
- Promote socially responsible production standards Farmers in developing countries must be given fair prices for what they produce. Our government should support the introduction of binding social standards and support their implementation in these regions of production.
The Global Hunger Index is a joint report by Welthungerhilfe, the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) and the Irish non-governmental organisation Concern Worldwide. Its 11th edition was published on the 11th of October 2016.
- Proportion of undernourished people in the population.
- Proportion of children under the age of five who suffer from wasting.
- Proportion of children under the age of five who suffer from stunting.
- Proportion of children who die before their fifth birthday.
The GHI is based on a 100-point scale whose extremes are never reached.
- Scoring up to 10 points = 'low' hunger
- Scoring more than 50 points = 'extremely alarming' hunger