September 7, 2023

FAO State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World Report 2023

Andrea Veselá

The State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World Report is the annual flagship publication from the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation. Each year, a focus topic or trend for the report is chosen, and this time this is “urbanisation, agrifood systems transformation and healthy diets across the rural-urban continuum”. 

The latest report describes the current progress on achieving Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 2.1, ending hunger, and 2.2, ending all forms of malnutrition, which are both key focus areas for FoodCloud’s activities. Unfortunately the news from this year’s publication is far from positive; 735 million global citizens faced undernourishment in 2022, which is 122 million more than pre-Covid-19 numbers from 2019. This corresponds to approximately 9.2% of the world’s population, and sadly also does not show any significant improvement from the figures of the previous year (2021). Although the overall amount of people facing hunger remains relatively unchanged, there have been developments at regional and subregional levels; advancements have been made towards reducing hunger in Asia and Latin America. It is a sobering reality, however, that an increasing number of people are facing undernourishment in Western Asia, the Caribbean and across Africa. The major drivers leading to hunger and food insecurity are conflict, climate extremes, economic slowdowns and growing inequality, which often go hand in hand.

In terms of the role of the rural-urban continuum, moderate and severe food insecurity is generally higher in rural areas. Furthermore, the gender gap in global food insecurity shows that women are more often affected by food insecurity than men. In this sense, a positive development is the narrowing of the gender gap from 3.8 percentage points in 2021 to 2.4 percentage points in 2022. This suggests that the severely disproportionate impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on food insecurity experienced by women seems to be alleviating. 

The report also highlights the increase in highly processed, excessively sweetened and fatty foods, pointing to the risks of the sharp decrease of quality of food available, especially in urban areas. Therefore, ensuring availability of healthy diets and nutritious high quality foods will be a key target globally in the coming years.

Some solutions and potentials for improving the situation proposed in the report are policies and investments for healthy diets across the rural-urban continuum, technology and innovation and integrated planning, and governance mechanisms across the rural-urban continuum. At FoodCloud, we are committed to alleviating food insecurity, both in Ireland and internationally, and food redistribution is part of the solution. Rescuing good food helps people and the planet.

To read more visit FAO.

Andrea Veselá

FoodCloud Communications Team

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