The annual flagship report informs on progress towards ending hunger, achieving food security, and improving nutrition.
This year’s edition explores how urbanization is shaping agrifood systems, outlining the implications of this nexus for the availability and affordability of healthy diets, food security, and nutrition.
On the second day of the UN High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF), the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO) and partners launched the 2023 edition of the State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World report (SOFI 2023). The publication updates on the food security and nutrition situation around the world and includes updated estimates on the cost and affordability of healthy diets.
Themed, ‘Urbanization, agrifood systems transformation, and healthy diets across the rural-urban continuum,’ the report explores how urbanization is shaping agrifood systems, outlining the implications of this nexus for the availability and affordability of healthy diets, food security, and nutrition.
The report highlights that since 2019, multiple crises, including the COVID-19 pandemic, repeated weather shocks, and conflicts have pushed an additional 122 million people into hunger. And while in 2022 Asia and Latin America saw progress in hunger reduction, hunger was still on the rise in Western Asia, the Caribbean, and in all of Africa’s subregions. In Africa alone, one in five people is facing hunger, which is more than twice the global average. The report warns that if current trends remain unchanged, the world will not achieve the goal of ending hunger by 2030 (SDG 2).
A world without hunger is possible. What we are missing is the investments and political will to implement solutions at scale.
— Alvaro Lario, IFAD President
On food security and nutrition, SOFI 2023 shows that in 2021, almost 48% of infants under six months of age benefited from exclusive breastfeeding, which is close to the 2025 target. However:
- In 2022, 29.6% of the global population, or 2.4 billion people, did not have constant access to food;
- More than 3.1 billion people, or 42%, were unable to afford a healthy diet in 2021; and
- In 2022, 22.3% of children under five, or 148 million, were stunted, 45 million (6.8%) were wasted, and 37 million (5%) were overweight.
The report identifies increased urbanization as a “megatrend” that affects how and what people eat. It notes that food insecurity affects more people in rural areas and that children’s malnutrition differs across urban and rural settings. For example, the prevalence of child stunting and wasting is higher in rural areas, while overweight is more prevalent in urban areas.
The report concludes that to effectively promote food security and nutrition, it is necessary to understand the complex and changing relationship between the rural-urban continuum and agrifood systems and incorporate this perspective into policymaking.
The annual flagship report, co-published with the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the World Food Programme (WFP), and the World Health Organization (WHO), informs on progress towards ending hunger, achieving food security, and improving nutrition.
SOFI 2023 was launched on 12 July, at a high-level special event at HLPF 2023. Through its theme, the report aligns with the New Urban Agenda (NUA) and will guide the HLPF’s in-depth review of SDG 11 (sustainable cities and communities) on 13 July, feeding into the SDG Summit in September. The other four Goals under review this year are SDGs 6 (clean water and sanitation), 7 (affordable and clean energy), 9 (industry, innovation and infrastructure), and SDG 17 (partnerships for the Goals). [Publication: The State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World 2023: Urbanization, Agrifood Systems Transformation, and Healthy Diets Across the Rural-urban Continuum] [Publication Landing Page] [FAO Press Release] [SDG Knowledge Hub Story on SOFI 2022]