Latin America Current Affairs - 2020

2019 Global Report on Food Crises

The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) makes the following observations in the 2019 Global Report on Food Crises report:

  • More than 113 million people across 53 countries experienced “acute hunger” last year because of wars and climate disasters, with Africa the worst-hit region.
  • Yemen, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Afghanistan and Syria were among the eight nations accounting for two-thirds of the total number of people worldwide exposed to the risk of famine.
  • African Nations were “disproportionally” affected as close to 72 million people on the continent suffered acute hunger.
  • The key factors which drove the hunger were Conflict and insecurity along with economic turbulence and climate-related shocks like drought and floods.
  • In countries on the verge of famine, up to 80 per cent of the populations were dependent on agriculture. They need both emergency humanitarian aid for food and measures to help boost agriculture.
  • The strain put on countries hosting a large number of refugees, including war-torn Syria as well as Bangladesh, which has received more than a million Rohingya Muslims from Myanmar has been highlighted in the report.
  • The overall situation slightly improved in 2018 compared to 2017 when 124 million people suffered acute hunger. This reduction in numbers was partially owed to the fact that some countries in Latin America and the Asia Pacific region, for instance, were less affected by weather disasters that had struck in previous years.
  • The year-on-year trend of more than 100 million people facing famine was unlikely to change in the face of continued crises.
  • High levels of acute and chronic malnutrition in children living in emergency conditions remained of grave concern.

The Global Food Crises Report is an annual study launched three years ago which takes stock of the countries facing the greatest difficulties in tackling hunger.

World Economic Situation and Prospects 2019: Challenges in attaining SDG

The United Nations report World Economic Situation and Prospects 2019 discusses various challenges in attaining the sustainable development goals. The challenges listed are:

  • Economic growth is uneven and is failing to reach where it is most needed. Per capita incomes would stagnate or grow only marginally in 2019 in several parts of Africa, Western Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean.
  • Even where the per capita growth is strong, economic activity is driven by core industrial and urban regions, leaving peripheral and rural areas behind.
  • The report notes that eradicating poverty by 2030 will require both double-digit growth in Africa and steep reductions in income inequality. This seems a distant possibility in the current scenario.
  • The confluence of risks is clouding and it may severely disrupt economic activity and inflict significant damage on longer-term development prospects.
  • The various risks include escalation of trade policy disputes; financial instabilities linked to elevated levels of debt; and rising climate risks, as the world experiences an increasing number of extreme weather events.

The report notes that the simultaneous appearance of several important risks endangers efforts to achieve the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development containing 17 specific goals to promote prosperity and social well-being while protecting the environment.