The figures published by the latest Regional Overview of Food Security and Nutrition 2023 are cause for great concern. The document is clear: hunger continues to significantly affect Latin America and the Caribbean.
In recent years, the population of Latin America and the Caribbean has seen a worrying increase in hunger figures, especially among the poorest in the region.
The climatic phenomenon known as "El Niño" is intensifying its presence worldwide. Projections are not favorable for the countries of the Latin America region. Below-normal rainfall is expected in Honduras, Guatemala, El Salvador, Nicaragua, northern Venezuela, Colombia, Bolivia, inland Peru, Guyana, and Suriname.
The global food security crisis reveals an increase in the undernourishment prevalence, reaching higher than in 2015, when countries first agreed to eradicate hunger by 2030 as one of the SDG targets. In the Caribbean, between 2014 and 2021, hunger increased by 2.3 percentage points, affecting 16.4 percent of its population by 2021. Moreover, the Caribbean is a net importer of almost all the main food groups such as cereals, dairy products, fruits and vegetables (except the Dominican Republic), meat and vegetable oils.
The signs of the last few years indicate a continuous setback towards achieving food security. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations’ (FAO) annual report, "The State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World (SOFI)”, prepared together with other UN agencies and presented on July 6th leaves no doubt about the dangerous situation in which we find ourselves regarding the real possibilities of eliminating hunger and poverty by 2030, as solemnly proposed by the international community in October 2015 in New York.
If the war in Ukraine and other conflicts around the world continue, the challenge for 2022 will be to guarantee greater access to existing food supplies, and sufficient food production by 2023.
If the war in Ukraine, that was initiated three months ago, does not end, and without a reduction in the growing number of conflicts in other parts of the world, hunger will only continue to increase.
Two months after the start of the war, on 24 February, the data on the substantial increase in the cost of food products, the rise in prices and shortages of fertilizers, the destruction of land and plantations in Ukraine, the sanctions, the difficulties with the transport of cereals from the world’s main granary, represented by Russia and Ukraine, and the massive migrations, especially from rural areas, are just a few aspects that confirm the pessimism that had been generated after the outbreak of the conflict.
The effects of COVID-19 over the past two years, in addition to the increase in wars and conflicts, climate change and economic crises, have aggravated global food insecurity, generating serious concerns for 2022.
The end of this year has revealed the fragility of food systems when faced with sudden disruptions such as those observed during the COVID-19 pandemic. These disruptions have increased the number of people with limited or no access to food in the world. Today, more than 811 million people suffer from hunger, according to recent studies.
During October, the World Food Month, there has been a huge increase in the number of qualified voices promoting new ways to transform food systems that would allow to reduce and eliminate hunger, of which more than 811 million people in the world are already victims.
The traumatic events that occurred in recent weeks in Afghanistan have once again placed this Asian country at the center of the world’s attention with high-impact coverage and analysis in the media.
The UN Food Systems Pre-Summit, held from 26 to 28 July in Rome, highlighted, as perhaps never before, that hunger can be defeated if we also manage to protect the environment, promote better nutrition and health. This new mentality and comprehensive approach consist of considering higher levels of economic investment to stimulate trade in agriculture and food and pursue a path towards a sustainable future.
Europe, the United States and other countries have made important progress in reducing the dramatic impact of COVID-19 in key sectors of the economy and population. However, in some parts of Africa, Latin America, Asia and the Middle East, the devastating effects of the pandemic continue to severely affect these sectors. One sector in particular, the food and agriculture sector, has been deeply impacted.
More than a year after the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, food and nutrition security continues to show its fragility.
One year after the call for a group of international and religious organizations and important multinational companies to incorporate ethics into the design of artificial intelligence (AI), Pope Francis said in a tweet: “I hope that more and more people of good will cooperate in the promotion of the common good, the protection of those lagging behind and the development of a shared algor-ethics”.
Overcoming the digital gap to face food insecurity with the use of artificial intelligence practices in agriculture is part of a growing debate that seeks to simultaneously safeguard natural resources and address the difficulties generated by climate change and the implications of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Concern about food loss and waste has become an increasingly important focus of attention when discussing ways to eliminate hunger which, according to the latest FAO report, already exceeds 690 million people.
One of the most significant aspects of the international conference on climate change, concluded in Paris on December 12, is that food security and ending hunger feature in the global agenda of the climate change debate.