How has the level of hunger worldwide developed in recent years? Global Hunger Index summarizes all data, facts and developments
2018 Global Hunger Index by Severity
The 2018 Global Hunger Index (GHI) report—the thirteenth in an annual series—presents a multidimensional measure of global, regional, and national hunger. The latest data available show that while the world has made progress in reducing hunger since 2000, we still have a long way to go. Levels of hunger are still serious or alarming in 51 countries and extremely alarming in one country. This year’s report focuses on hunger and the rising levels of forced migration—two interlinked challenges that require long-term action and political solutions.
In order to delve more deeply into national averages, the 2018 GHI report takes a closer look at the hunger and nutrition situations of two countries—Bangladesh and Ethiopia—which have serious levels of hunger but have achieved notable progress through a range of policies and programs.
GHI scores could not be calculated for several countries because data were not available for all four GHI indicators. Yet the hunger and undernutrition situations in seven of these countries—Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo, Eritrea, Libya, Somalia, South Sudan, and Syria—give cause for significant concern. In each of these seven countries, violent conflict, political unrest, and/or extreme poverty have precipitated substantial flows of forced migration, which is closely associated with food insecurity. Bucay Deng, Deputy Country Director in South Sudan, underlined how conflict is the major driver for hunger and how the donor community still needs to have a unified approach in order for EU funding to reach the most needing people. Amina Abdulla from Concern Worlwide added that moving the discussion to food and nutrition security is an important step to achieve Zero Hunger.
Despite the sobering statistics in a number of countries, there is cause for optimism. Although there are exceptions, the overall trends in hunger and undernutrition are promising and show improvements over time. This year’s GHI includes 27 countries with moderate levels of hunger and 40 countries with low levels of hunger. Even some countries in South Asia and Africa south of the Sahara—the regions with the highest hunger and undernutrition levels—have achieved moderate scores.
The GHI offers 3 sets of policy recommendations, including the need to follow up on adoption of UN Security Council Resolution 2417 (2018) – which condemns the use of starvation as a method of warfare – as a potentially significant milestone in the fight against hunger and urges UN members to introduce an accountability system to highlight and deter violations of it.
Laura Hammond, author of the essay of this year’s GHI, furthermore stressed that hunger is often understood to result from environmental or natural causes but in fact, like displacement, it is usually the result of political circumstances, needing therefore a political solution.
Speakers included Phil Hogan, Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development, Brian Hayes, MEP, Arne Lietz, MEP, Linda McAvan, MEP (Chair of Committee on Development), Bucay Deng (Deputy Country Director, Welthungerhilfe South Sudan), Amina Abdulla (Country Director, Concern Worldwide Kenya), Laura Hammond (Reader in Development Studies, SOAS, London), Dominic MacSorley (CEO Concern Worldwide and Member of Alliance2015 Executive Board).
The Global Hunger Index consists of: