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The COVID-19 pandemic is exacerbating hunger worldwide

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Drawing Lessons from the crisis and initiating change

One year on from the start of the coronavirus pandemic, many of the fears about the increase in hunger and poverty have been confirmed. Analyses by international institutions including the United Nations and the World Bank show just how devastating the pandemic has been on the global sustainable development goals of the 2030 Agenda, in particular those focused on ending hunger and poverty. The crisis has set development efforts back by years, if not decades.

The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) currently puts the number of people at risk of starvation at more than 270 million. This is double the pre-pandemic figure. The COVID crisis has greatly exacerbated the situation for those already suffering from poverty, armed conflict and the climate crisis. The World Bank predicts that by the end of this year, the pandemic will cause 111 to 149 million people worldwide to fall into extreme poverty. Even before the pandemic, the number of people suffering from chronic hunger had been on the rise again. Far from "Zero Hunger", the number is now predicted to come close to one billion. The pandemic has prompted the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) to adjust its estimates, and it now expects there to be between 860 and 909 million people suffering from hunger by 2030.