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UN food security report highlights scale of challenge facing the world

Press release12 July 2021
The cover of the SOFI 2021 report
The SOFI 2021 report

Global hunger levels increased last year with up to 811 million people facing hunger at the end 2020, under the shadow of the COVID pandemic, and up to 928 million people experiencing food insecurity, according to a UN report published today.

The ‘State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World’ report is the first global assessment of food insecurity and malnutrition for 2020. It illustrates the scale of impact that the pandemic had on the world’s food security.   The increase in the number of undernourished people in 2020 was the largest annual rise in 20 years – five times higher than any other annual increase during this period.

The report also highlights the scale of the challenge facing the world if it is to eliminate hunger by 2030, in line with the Sustainable Development Goals, Concern’s Director of Strategy, Advocacy and Learning  Connell Foley said. The report confirms that this target will be missed unless bold actions are taken to accelerate progress, especially actions to address inequality in access to food.

“Access to nutritious food is a basic right and it is increasingly challenging for people living in crises, and constantly affected by conflict, climate change and COVID 19 to feed themselves and their families,” he said.

'Global moral failure'

“The prospect of multiple famines in 2021 is a global moral failure. We have the data and the knowhow to ensure everyone has enough nutritious food to eat,” Mr Foley said. “We need the political will to make it a reality. Governments must do more to prevent crises from worsening, strengthen policies on climate action and put the necessary resources in place to end hunger.”

The report reinforces the serious challenges facing the global food security system, and the need to change how the world is positioned to feed everyone, Mr Foley said. “The Food Systems Summit in September is an opportunity for countries, including Ireland, to increase their efforts towards ending hunger. The Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), including SDG2 on Zero Hunger, cannot be forgotten,” he added.  

“If we can make our food systems more resilient to the major drivers of hunger,  including conflict, climate variability and extremes, and economic slowdowns and downturns, food systems can provide affordable healthy diets that are sustainable and inclusive, and become a powerful driving force towards ending hunger, food insecurity and malnutrition in all its forms, for all.”

To read the ‘State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World’ visit:

For media queries contact Eamon Timmins, Media Relations Manager, Concern Worldwide at or 00 353 87 9880524

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