According to the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO), evidence continues to signal a rise in world hunger. The number of people who suffer from hunger has been growing over the past three years and reached a total of 821 million in 2017. The situation is worsening particularly in South America and Africa. FAO’s new report shows that global efforts to tackle climate change are way off track to achieve the SDG target of hunger eradication by 2030.

Addressing the challenges of hunger, food insecurity and malnutrition in all its forms features prominently in the second Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development: Ensuring access to safe, nutritious and sufficient food for all (Target 2.1) and eliminating all forms of malnutrition (Target 2.2). Especially our soils, freshwater, oceans, forests and biodiversity are being rapidly degraded. In this context, climate change is putting even more pressure on the resources we depend on. FAO argues that climate change is already affecting the four dimensions of food security (i.e., the physical availability of food, its economic and physical accessibility, its use, and the stability of these three dimensions over time). Therefore, the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development has acknowledged the link between hunger and climate change.

Against the background of increasing number of extreme climate-related disasters, FAO’s findings are even more worrying. The number of climate-related disasters has doubled since the early 1990s, with an average of 213 of these events occurring every year. In addition, FAO’s data show that prevalence and number of undernourished people tends to be higher in countries highly exposed to climate extremes. Thus, FAO calls for an integrated approach to counter the adverse effects of climate change on food production systems - “If we are to achieve a world without hunger and malnutrition in all its forms by 2030, it is imperative that we accelerate and scale up actions to strengthen the resilience and adaptive capacity of food systems and people's livelihoods in response to climate variability and extremes."

FAO’s report Food Security & Nutrition around the World 2018 seeks to launch an urgent appeal to accelerate and scale up actions to strengthen resilience and adaptive capacity in the face of changing climate. National and local governments should be guided by existing global policy platforms and processes whereby climate resilience is an important element such as the UNFCCC and the 2015 Paris Agreement framework, or the Sendai Framework on Disaster Risk Reduction. FAO claims that it is important to ensure better integration of these global policy platforms and processes to ensure that actions across and within sectors such as environment, food, agriculture and health pursue coherent objectives.

The report was jointly prepared by the FAO, the International Fund for Agricultural Development, the United Nations Children’s Fund, the World Health Organization and the World Food Programme.

Food and Agriculture Organization