The global population considered food insecure has declined by 167 million since 2005 and by 216 million since 1992, according to a new report issued by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, the International Fund for Agricultural Development and the World Food Programme.
Yet 795 million people remain malnourished with 780 million of these living in developing regions of the world.
Food insecurity is defined in the report as a “situation that exists when people lack secure access to sufficient amounts of safe and nutritious food for normal growth and development and an active and healthy life.”
Asia is the leading area in food insecurity with 511.7 million people malnourished, followed by Africa (232.5 million), Latin American and the Caribbean (34.3 million) and Oceania (1.4 million).
Of the 129 developing nations monitored, 72 met hunger targets set forth in the Millennium Development Goals.
“For the developing regions as a whole, the share of undernourished people in the total population has decreased from 23.3 percent in 1990-92 to 12.9 percent,” the report said.
While progress has been made globally, reduction of food insecurity has varied greatly from region to region.
For example, in Northern Africa and Southeastern Asia, there has been significant progress, with both seeing decline in the number of malnourished in their regions.
By contrast, Sub-Saharan Africa and Western Asia have both seen an increase in malnourished persons.
The least developed nations have experience a nearly 20 percent increase in the number of malnourished in their country from 1992 to the present, while the total malnourished in developed nations has declined by more than 26 percent during the same period.
Nations with notable progress benefited from “stable political conditions and economic growth, often accompanied by social protection policies targeted at vulnerable population groups.”
Countries that continue to struggle with food insecurity have been hindered by “natural and human-induced disasters or political instability.”
The report concluded by setting forth four elements necessary to achieve food security and quality nutrition: economic growth, agricultural productivity growth, markets (including international trade) and social protection.
The full report, “The State of Food Insecurity in the World – Meeting the 2015 International Hunger Targets: Taking Stock of Uneven Progress,” which includes detailed analysis of malnourishment and hunger in each global region, is available here.