The 2019 Global Hunger Index (GHI) shows that while the world has made gradual progress in reducing hunger on a global scale since 2000, this progress has been uneven. Hunger persists in many countries, and in some instances progress is even being reversed. The GHI highlights where more action is most needed.
Global Hunger Is Moving from Serious to Moderate
With a 2019 GHI score of 20.0, the level of hunger and undernutrition worldwide is on the cusp of the moderate and serious categories. This score reflects a decline of 31 percent since 2000, when the global GHI score was 29.0 and fell into the serious category. Underlying this improvement are reductions in each of the four GHI indicators—the rates of undernourishment, child stunting, child wasting, and child mortality—since 2000.
Areas of Severe Hunger Remain
Extreme climatic events, violent conflicts, wars, and economic slowdowns and crises continue to drive hunger in many parts of the world. The number of people who are undernourished actually rose from 785 million in 2015 to 822 million in 2018. Nine countries in the GHI in the moderate, serious, alarming, or extremely alarming categories have higher scores today than in 2010, including the Central African Republic, Madagascar, and Yemen.
Hunger Is Highest in the Regions of South Asia and Africa South of the Sahara
South Asia and Africa South of the Sahara are the regions with the high- est 2019 GHI scores, at 29.3 and 28.4 respectively, indicating serious levels of hunger. In South Asia this score is driven by high rates of child undernutrition; in Africa South of the Sahara, the score is due to high undernourishment and child mortality rates, as well as high child undernutrition. In contrast, the 2019 GHI scores for Eastern Europe and the Commonwealth of Independent States, Latin America, and the Caribbean, East and Southeast Asia, and the Near East and North Africa range from 6.6 to 13.3, indicating low or moderate hunger levels.
Reducing the Threat Requires Large-scale Action and Radical Transformation
Ending hunger and undernutrition in a changing climate demands large-scale action to address the inequities exacerbated by climate change while minimizing environmental changes that could prove catastrophic to human life. It requires us to better prepare for and respond to disasters, support resilience and adaptation among the most vulnerable groups and regions, address global inequalities, mitigate climate change without compromising food and nutrition security, make financing for climate action fair and effective, and radically transform food systems.