16 November 2018

Global Hunger Index calls for climate action and political leadership

The 2018 Global Hunger Index has identified climate change as a key threat to continued progress in the fight against hunger, alongside conflict and poor governance. The report’s particular focus on forced migration and hunger describes a complex and “poorly understood” relationship, and calls for greater focus on the root causes and political responses to each.

Published jointly by Concern Worldwide and Welthungerhilfe, the index shows that while overall worldwide hunger levels have reduced, there remain major disparities between and within regions and countries. Forty-five countries are still ranked ‘serious’, six are ranked ‘alarming’, and one - the Central African Republic – ‘extremely alarming’.

Chad has the second-worst score, with attention drawn to its climate variability and the ongoing agricultural lean season in addition to severe conflict in neighbouring countries. Lake Chad, Mali and Iraq (both of which have ‘serious’ hunger levels according to the report) are all spotlight regions for the Planetary Security Initiative Conference 2019.

South Asia and Africa south of the Sahara are the worst-affected regions worldwide. In the latter, conflict plays a “devastating role”, often combining with climate change to further increase undernourishment rates. The indicators used in the index include child stunting, wasting and mortality as well as the general prevalence of undernourishment.

While Sustainable Development Goal 2 commits UN nations to eliminating hunger by 2030, the report concludes that “we are not on track to meet that goal”. Its recommendations include a focus on regions low- and middle-income countries, where the majority of displaced people are located.

The essay focussing on forced migration, by Laura Hammond of SOAS University of London, argues that hunger is not only a consequence of mass displacement but also a cause, and calls for recognition of each as political problems that require holistic and sustained responses.

Read the essay and full report here.