Our world is in the midst of a global hunger crisis. With conflict, climate change and the enduring economic
impacts of COVID-19, families are struggling to access enough safe, nutritious food for basic human health
In 2021, 41 million4 people—approximately half of them girls and boys—were at risk of starvation in 43 countries, with 584,000 people enduring famine-like conditions in Ethiopia, Madagascar, South Sudan and Yemen. This
is a crisis that often goes unnoticed, because much of the worsening hunger is concentrated in the world’s
hardest to reach, most dangerous places where humanitarian access is difficult.
We know from past emergencies, such as the 2011 Somalia famine in which 258,000 people are estimated
to have died, that approximately half had already perished by the time a declaration of famine was made,
and that half of all those who died were children younger than five years old.
The vulnerability of agriculture to natural hazards and disasters is a major driver of hunger and food
insecurity. Between 2008 and 2018, approximately $108.5 billion US was lost because of declines in crop and
livestock production in both least developed and lower- and middle-income countries following disasters.
Over that period, Asia was the hardest hit region, followed by Africa, then Latin America and the Caribbean.
Women continue to be the face of food insecurity, with moderate or severe food insecurity being 10%
higher among women than men in 2020, a 4% increase from 2019. With high levels of income inequality and
food costs, consuming a healthy diet was out of reach for approximately 3 billion people in 2019, particularly
the poor. That number is now expected to have increased—according to FAO’s Food Price Index,
food prices were 31.4% higher in October 2021 compared to October 2020.
Large-scale food and nutrition crises can and should be a thing of the past—to make this a reality, we need
strong collective leadership, political will and the right financing, with short-term emergency responses and
longer-term commitments that address the underlying issues driving hunger. These efforts must all support
human rights, peaceful resolutions to conflict and the transformation of food systems to become inclusive,
sustainable and more resilient.