The latest State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World (SOFI 2021) makes for difficult reading. The UN multi-agency report highlights an alarming rise in global hunger and the world off-course to achieve Sustainable Development Goal 2 (Zero hunger by 2030), derailed primarily by the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite progress made in the last two decades, for example in reducing the prevalence of stunting in children under five by one third, an estimated 720 to 811 million globally are undernourished in 2020. The shadow of COVID-19 continues to have a devastating impact on the world’s economy – with widespread consequences for the food security and nutrition status of millions of people.
Yet even before the pandemic, other factors were having an impact on rising levels of hunger and malnutrition. The report identifies conflict, climate extremes, other economic downturns and high levels of inequality as major drivers of food insecurity. SOFI 2021 stresses the need to transform food systems to provide affordable healthy diets for all. Ahead of the UN Food Systems Summit 2021, the report proposes six transformation pathways to address the negative impacts of the drivers behind the recent rise in hunger and malnutrition. First on the list is "Integrating humanitarian, development and peacebuilding policies in conflict-affected areas."