Conflict Alerts # 563, 20 October 2022
On 15 October, the Global Hunger Index (GHI) ranked 136 countries into five main categories based on the severity of prevalent hunger: low, moderate, serious, alarming, and very alarming. The GHI determined the ranking based on four major criteria: undernourishment or the share of the population with an insufficient caloric intake of fewer than 1800 calories; child stunting or the share of children under age five who are short for their age as a result of undernourishment; child wasting or the share of children under age five who have low weight for their height due to acute undernutrition; and, child mortality or the share of children who die before their fifth birthday. These criteria reflect the fatal mix of inadequate nutrition and an unhealthy environment.
Out of 136 countries, 44 have alarming or serious levels of hunger; 20 countries with moderate, serious, or alarming hunger levels have better 2022 GHI scores than in 2014; and 46 countries are projected to reach a low level of hunger by 2030. Belarus, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Chile, China, and Croatia are the top five countries in GHI 2022 and Chad, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Madagascar, the Central African Republic, and Yemen have been ranked at the bottom.
First, the vulnerable global food system. Chronic and acute food crises, exposing the vulnerabilities of the global food system, are a challenge to ending world hunger. Human-induced climate crises play a role in the lack of access to food globally. Increased stress on agriculture, forestry, fisheries, and aquaculture, is also a challenge in meeting the growing demands for food.
Second, conflicts as a trigger to world hunger. One of the main causes of acute food crises is violent conflict; of the 193 million people facing food crises, 139 million are located in places of conflict, making access to good quality food difficult. The COVID-19 pandemic has devastated many economies from the lower and middle-income countries, increasing the prices of commodities, staggering economic growth, and increasing projected poverty rates. Since 2020 the prices of food have increased worldwide, and the present unrest in Europe because of the war in Ukraine, has led to a higher price rise than expected.
Third, regional performance throughout the years. South Asia has improved from “Alarming” in 2000 and 2007 to “Serious” in 2014 and the present one. In Africa, the south of the Sahara has also improved from ‘Alarming’ in 2000 and 2007 to “Serious” in 2014 and 2022. West Asia and North Africa have stayed “Moderate” in all the reports of GHI. Latin America and the Caribbean have improved from “Moderate” in 2000 and 2007 to “Low” in 2014 and 2022. East and Southeast Asia have also improved from “Moderate” in 2000 to “Low” in 2007, 2014, and 2022. Europe and Central Asia were in the “Moderate” ranking in 2000 but have stayed at the “Low” level in 2007, 2014, and 2022.
Fourth, the stagnation of the fight against global hunger. The global fight against hunger has stagnated in recent years due to the lack of involvement of the international community and inaction from local bodies. The GHI recommends inclusive governance and accountability at the centre to make the food system a key to eradicating hunger.