Climate change is causing a stagnation in current efforts to curtail world hunger according to the 14th Global Hunger Index report (GHI) which was released on Tuesday, October 15, 2019. While there has been a noted improvement in the level of world hunger since the year 2000, the number of undernourished people has increased from 785 million in 2015 to 822 million in 2018. This increase of almost 40 million has been credited to a recent surge in warfare in sub-Saharan Africa and the impacts of extreme weather events caused by changes in climatic conditions. 

The report claims that existing efforts to combat climate change are failing to address climate change and are projected to overshoot both of the Paris Agreement’s targets of 1.5°C and 2°C, possibly even reaching a warming of 3°C or 4°C by 2100.

Concern Worldwide CEO Dominic MacSorley admitted that, “Progress made towards achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goal of Zero Hunger by 2030 is now under threat or is being reversed.” The report shows that 45 countries are projected to fail to reach low levels of hunger by 2030 and that multiple countries have regressed in their efforts since 2010. These countries include, but are not limited to; Lebanon, Venezuela and the Central African Republic.

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The Central African Republic is now the only country categorised as ‘extremely alarming’. This change can be explained, according to the Global Hunger Index, by the impact of climate change and ever increasing damages of regional conflict, both of which combine to widen economic and gender inequalities. Climate change, especially in this area, has had profound impacts on crop yields as the rising temperatures are causing a decline in water resources.

The study is not all doom and gloom however, it also shows that many countries have seen remarkable reductions in the rate of hunger. Ethiopia, Sierra Leone and Rwanda have seen the biggest leap forward in their battle against hunger, however this growth could be put at risk as African countries are facing some of the biggest impacts of global warming. The Index suggests a number of policies which it recommends governments to undertake in order to combat the current hunger crisis, requesting that governments emphasise fair financing as well as securing water and land rights for indigenous people. It recommends that private donors should increase investment in disaster prevention resources, such as early warning systems and irrigation technology.

In her forward to the report, former President Mary Robinson said “we can no longer afford to regard the 2030 Agenda and the Paris Climate Agreement as voluntary and a matter for each member state to decide on its own.” Robinson also said that the report showed that our current food systems were “jeopardising one of the most fundamental rights we all share as human beings – the right to adequate and sufficient food.”

The report is open to the public and can be viewed online on Concern’s website.


Hugh Dooley – Reporter