The most recent findings from the Global Hunger Index 2023 reveal a troubling stagnation in global efforts to eliminate hunger. This lack of progress presents significant challenges, particularly for the youth, who bear the brunt of the repercussions of a flawed food system. This situation not only affects the current state of affairs but also molds the trajectory of future generations. It underscores the need for immediate and impactful measures to counteract this alarming trend.
The Global Hunger Index (GHI) report for 2023 reveals a disquieting reality: the battle against hunger on a global scale has come to a halt. Despite progress in various spheres, the eradication of hunger remains an unresolved challenge. This paralysis represents a serious concern for the youth, who find themselves immersed in a food system that not only affects them but one they will inherit along with all its complications and associated challenges.
The GHI 2023 report, developed by WHH and Concern Worldwide, shows that the global score has remained stagnant since 2015, despite efforts made since then. The hunger situation, although considered moderate, has not significantly improved. This is particularly worrying as it disproportionately affects the youth, whose physical and cognitive development is impacted by the lack of access to adequate nutrition.
In 2023, the GHI score globally stands at 18.3, a slight increase from 2022 when it was 18.2. This score is also just below that of 2015, which was 19.1, indicating a slowdown compared to previous years. Furthermore, since 2017, the prevalence of undernourishment has increased, rising from 572 million to approximately 735 million people.
The report highlights that multiple overlapping crises such as the COVID-19 pandemic, armed conflicts, climate change, and economic stagnation have significantly contributed to the paralysis in the fight against hunger. These crises have accentuated inequalities, disproportionately affecting people with low to moderate incomes.
The youth are among the most affected groups by this situation. Food insecurity and malnutrition are more frequent in South Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa, where the majority of the young population is concentrated. This has significant and serious implications, as childhood and adolescence are critical periods of rapid growth and physical development. Food insecurity and hunger pose significant obstacles in the path of the younger generations towards complete and healthy development.
The report also highlights that hunger remains a severe or alarming threat in 43 countries and, if this pace continues, 58 countries will not significantly reduce hunger by 2030. Six countries have GHI scores considered alarming, and three more are provisionally designated as alarming.
The lack of food sovereignty has become a central issue in this situation. The loss of food sovereignty, particularly in low- and middle-income countries, has been accelerated by various factors such as colonialism, poor governance, intensification of agriculture, and the growth of monocultures. These factors have threatened local agricultural and knowledge systems, contributing to food and nutritional insecurity.
Addressing this issue requires a new direction in the transformation of food systems. Promoting sustainable and less input-intensive agricultural systems and providing youth with employment opportunities in the food sector are essential. This involves ensuring significant youth participation in the formulation of long-term food policies, improving their access to productive resources, and offering fair and sustainable jobs within food systems. Food sovereignty and gender equity also play a fundamental role in addressing these challenges and ensuring generational justice.
The stagnation in the fight against hunger demands a renewed focus and coordinated actions globally. Addressing this issue requires a range of strategies:
- Investment and development in sustainable agriculture: Promoting sustainable agriculture can strengthen long-term food security, ensuring more resilient crops and more efficient agricultural systems.
- Equitable and universal access to education and health: Education and health are fundamental pillars to break the cycle of hunger. Ensuring equitable access to quality services is essential for the comprehensive development of youth.
- Global cooperation and effective policies: Collaboration between governments, non-governmental organizations, and international entities is crucial and necessary to implement effective policies that address the underlying causes of hunger.
The lack of food sovereignty, as highlighted in the GHI 2023, has become a central problem. The loss of this right, particularly in low- and middle-income countries, has been accelerated by several factors, from colonialism to poor governance. This situation has threatened local agricultural systems and contributed to food insecurity.
The International Human Rights Network Europe (RIDHE) is actively committed to causes related to the hunger crisis, advocating for the respect and protection of human rights in the fight against food insecurity. Through awareness campaigns, political pressure, and networking with local and international organizations, the network aims to influence government policies and the international community to ensure the implementation of effective strategies that address the roots of hunger, thus promoting equitable access to adequate and sustainable food for all.
Report: Global Hunger Index 2023