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Rise in world hunger: The State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World FAO report 2017

For the first time since the turn of the century, the number of hungry people has increased globally from 777 million in 2015 to 815 million in 2016, according to the report, The State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World. This is mainly due to a rise in conflicts and climate change shocks, such as droughts or floods. Over the past decade, violent conflicts have increased significantly, particularly in countries already facing food insecurity, hitting rural communities the hardest and affecting food production and availability. Conflict is a main driver of population displacement and displaced populations are among the most vulnerable in the world, experiencing high levels of food insecurity and undernutrition. For example, 20 million people in four countries – Nigeria (north-east), South Sudan, Somalia and Yemen – were declared at risk of famine in 2017.

People living in countries affected by protracted crisis (so-called fragile and conflict-affected states (FCAS) are nearly two and a half times more likely to be undernourished than those living elsewhere. Of the 815 million chronically food-insecure and undernourished people in the world, the vast majority – 489 million – live in countries affected by conflict.

Moreover, food security has also deteriorated in some non-conflict-affected settings, particularly those affected by economic slowdowns. A number of countries heavily dependent on commodity exports have experienced dramatically reduced revenue in recent years. Food availability has been affected through reduced import capacity, while access to food has deteriorated in part due to the reduced ability to protect poor households against rising domestic food prices. Africa has the highest levels of severe food insecurity, affecting 27.4 per cent of the population – almost four times that of any other region. Higher food insecurity was also observed in Latin America, rising from 4.7 per cent to 6.4 per cent.

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Rise in world hunger: The State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World FAO report 2017. Nutrition Exchange 9, January 2018. p5. www.ennonline.net/nex/9/foodsecurityfaorep2017