Global hunger rising with conflicts, climate shocks

The head of the United Nations World Food Programme David Beasly centre shares a word with Gilbert Houngbo left president of the UN International Fund for Agricultural Development and Jose Graziano da Silva director General of the Food and Agricult

After a decade of decline, the report indicates that global hunger has increased, with 815 million undernourished people in 2016, up from 777 million in 2015.

At the same time, multiple forms of malnutrition are threatening the health of millions worldwide, it adds.

The figure rose by nearly 5 percent year-on-year in 2016 due to an increase in violent conflicts and climate-related shocks around the world, according to an United Nations report released Friday.

"Economic slowdowns in countries highly dependent on oil and other primary commodity export revenues have also had an impact on food availability and/or reduced people's ability to access food", said the report.

Almost 52 million were affected by wasting - being underweight for their height. It also documents the occurrence of anaemia in women of reproductive age, which is a leading cause of maternal mortality, and rates of breastfeeding. These trends are a effect not only of conflict and climate change but also of sweeping changes in dietary habits as well as economic slowdowns, it also disclosed.

It "singles out conflict - increasingly compounded by climate change - as one of the key drivers behind the resurgence of hunger and many forms of malnutrition" said a joint statement by the United Nations agencies which drafted the report.

And it sends a clear warning signal that the ambition of a world without hunger and malnutrition by 2030 will be challenging - achieving it will require renewed efforts through new ways of working.

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After steady progress fighting hunger, the United Nations announced an increase in the number of chronically hungry people for the first time in over 10 years.

Asia has the largest number of hungry people - 520 million - and sub-Saharan Africa has the highest proportion of hungry, affecting 20 per cent of the population.

"Deteriorations have been observed most notably in situations of conflict, often compounded by droughts or floods, linked in part to the El Ni?o phenomenon". Overall, 11 percent of the world's population was hungry previous year.

An estimated 41 million children under five are overweight, a sign of malnutrition, that will increasingly affect the poor. Stunting can undermine children's physical and mental development. This is the price we are paying for the recession, conflicts and climate change altogether.

While this is still far below 900 million in 2000, the rise in conflicts, caused, in part, by climate-related disasters, has triggered an uptick. "This is an indictment of humanity", said the head of the World Food Program, David Beasley.

Some of the highest proportions of food-insecure and malnourished children in the world are now concentrated in conflict zones, according to The State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World.

"This triggered alarm sirens he is not allowed to ignore: we eliminate hunger and all forms of malnutrition in 2030 if we address all factors that compromise food security and nutrition".

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