Despite a decade of steady decline, in 2017 global hunger began to rise again. Consequently, 815 million people – one in nine – go to bed on an empty stomach each night, according to The State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World report, and one in three suffers from some form of malnutrition. Of these, the latest Global Report on Food Crises reveals that 124 million people across 51 countries faced severe levels of hunger and required urgent humanitarian action in 2017. A year of unprecedented crises resulted in a sharp increase of food assistance needs compared to 2015 figures.
Conflict, increasingly exacerbated by climate change, is a key driver behind the resurgence of hunger. As violence and protracted conflicts continue to ravage communities, upend families and destroy lives, reaching Zero Hunger for those we serve becomes more and more difficult.
Rising to meet these challenges, the European Union and its Member States showed their commitment to the world’s most vulnerable once again in 2017. Together they contributed over €2.7 billion to the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP), remaining its largest donor.
The European Commission alone was for the second year in a row WFP’s second largest single donor, contributing a record €1 billion to our humanitarian and development operations in 49 countries.
Thanks to the EU’s dedication, millions of people had better access to lifesaving and nutritious food, families received cash assistance to cover basic necessities, and school meals helped kids stay healthy and ready to learn.
The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development urges to transcend the humanitarian-development divide. The growing number of armed conflicts, the ever-apparent effects of climate change, and increasingly complex factors that lead to protracted humanitarian situations, mean longerterm solutions must underlie even our short-term responses.
To build on the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals’ vision of ‘Leaving No One Behind’, the EU and WFP continued to work more closely together in 2017 to save lives, reduce the risks of hungercausing disasters, and invest in better futures.