The 2021 edition of the State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World report (SOFI 2021) was launched during the UN High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF). The report assesses chronic food security around the world in 2020 in the context of the COVID-19. It calls for a shift to “healthy diets that include sustainability considerations” to lower health and climate change costs by 2030.
SOFI is an annual publication that monitors progress towards globally agreed food security and nutrition targets, and is jointly produced by five UN agencies: the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN, the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the World Food Programme (WFP), and the World Health Organization (WHO). As of 2017, SOFI reports chart progress towards SDG target 2.1 (universal access to safe and nutritious food) and SDG target 2.2 (end all forms of malnutrition).
SOFI 2021, titled ‘Transforming food systems for food security, improved nutrition, and affordable healthy diets for all,’ highlights solutions to drivers of food insecurity and malnutrition, focusing on six pathways. Policymakers would apply the pathways that make sense in each country context, depending on its particular drivers of food insecurity and malnutrition. The pathways are:
- integrating humanitarian, development and peacebuilding policies in conflict-affected areas;
- scaling up climate resilience across food systems;
- strengthening resilience of the most vulnerable to economic adversity;
- intervening along the food supply chains to lower the cost of nutritious foods;
- tackling poverty and structural inequalities, ensuring interventions are pro-poor and inclusive; and
- strengthening food environments and changing consumer behavior to promote dietary patterns with positive impacts on human health and the environment.
The report also provides estimates for several nutrition indicators to 2030 and a projection of undernourishment by 2030 given the estimated impact of COVID-19 on hunger in 2020 and economic trends in 2021. According to the new evidence used in the report, hunger will not be eradicated by 2030 without bold actions to address inequality in access to food, among other areas where progress must accelerate.
In 2030, the report says that around 660 million people could still face hunger due to the last impacts of the pandemic on global food security. This is 30 million more people than if the pandemic had not occurred.
The report also suggests that shifting to healthy diets that include sustainability considerations can lower health and climate change costs by 2030. The authors explain that such diets have lower “hidden costs” than current consumption patterns. [Launch event] [Publication: The State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World 2021: Transforming food systems for food security, improved nutrition and affordable healthy diets for all] [FAO press release]