Global Hunger Index 2020

Global Hunger Index 2020: The Global Hunger Index (GHI) is a tool designed to comprehensively measure and track hunger at the global, regional, and country levels. The International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) calculates the GHI scores each year to assess progress, or the lack thereof, in combating hunger.

The Global Hunger Index 2020 report released on Friday has ranked India at 94 among 107 countries. India was ranked 102 out of 117 countries in the Global Hunger Index 2019 that was published jointly by Concern Worldwide and Welthungerhilfe.

Global Hunger Index 2020: India ranks 94 among 107 countries

The Global Hunger Index (GHI) is a tool that measures and tracks hunger globally as well as by region and by country. The GHI is calculated annually, and its results appear in a report issued in October each year.

After declining since 2000, hunger at the global level is classified as moderate, according to the 2020 report. Many individual countries have also achieved reductions in hunger since 2000, but in some countries hunger persists or has even worsened.

India ranks 94 among 107 countries in Global Hunger Index 2020, the report released on Friday said. According to the GHI report, with a score of 27.2, India has a level of hunger that is “serious”. According to the study, 14% of India’s population is undernourished.

India features behind Nepal (73), Pakistan (88), Bangladesh (75), Indonesia (70) among others. Out of 107 countries, only 13 countries fare worse than India including countries like Rwanda (97), Nigeria (98), Afghanistan (99), Liberia (102), Mozambique (103), Chad (107) among others.

UPSC Prelims 2021 Important topics: Global Hunger Index 2020

Last year, India’s GHI rank was 102 out of 117 countries.

The reports also state that the country recorded a child stunting rate of 37.4 per cent. Stunted children are those who have a “low height for their age, reflecting chronic undernutrition”.

Created in 2006, the GHI was initially published by the US-based International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) and Germany-based Welthungerhilfe. In 2007, the Irish NGO Concern Worldwide also became a co-publisher.  In 2018, IFPRI stepped aside from its involvement in the project and the GHI became a joint project of Welthungerhilfe and Concern Worldwide.

The 2020 Global Hunger Index report presents a multi-dimensional measure of national, regional, and global hunger by assigning a numerical score based on several aspects of hunger. It then ranks countries by GHI score and compares current scores with past results. Besides presenting GHI scores, each year the GHI report includes an essay addressing one particular aspect of hunger. The 2020 report considers a One Health approach to linking health and sustainable food systems in order to achieve Zero Hunger by 2030.

Focus of the 2020 GHI: One Decade to Zero Hunger: Linking Health and Sustainable Food Systems

The events of 2020 are laying bare many of the vulnerabilities of the world’s food system in ways that are becoming impossible to ignore. However, by taking an integrated approach to health and food and nutrition security, it may yet be possible to achieve Zero Hunger by 2030. A One Health approach, which is based on a recognition of the interconnections between humans, animals, plants, and their shared environment, as well as the role of fair trade relations, would address the various crises we face holistically and help avert future health crises, restore a healthy planet, and end hunger.

A One Health lens brings into focus a number of weaknesses including the fragility of globalized food systems; underinvestment in local farmers, farmer associations, and smallholder-oriented value chains; increasing rates of diet-related noncommunicable disease; emergency responses that disrupt local food systems; the heavy environmental cost of food systems; inadequate social protection for much of the world’s population; unfair global food governance, including unjust trade and aid policies; and lack of secure land tenure, which results in food insecurity for rural communities, indigenous people, women, and marginalized groups.

To ensure the right to adequate and nutritious food for all and achieve Zero Hunger by 2030, we must approach health and food and nutrition security in a way that considers human, animal, and environmental health and fair trade relations holistically. Multilateral institutions, governments, communities, and individuals must take a number of actions in the short and long term, including sustaining the production and supply of food; ensuring social protection measures; strengthening regional food supply chains; reviewing food, health, and economic systems through a One Health lens to chart a path to environmental recovery; and working toward a circular food economy that recycles nutrients and materials, regenerates natural systems, and eliminates waste and pollution.

Focus of the 2019 GHI: The Challenge of Hunger and Climate Change

The 2019 GHI report notes that climate change is making it ever more difficult to adequately and sustainably feed and nourish the human population. Climate change has direct and indirect negative impacts on food security and hunger through changes in food production and availability, access, quality, utilization, and stability of food systems. In addition, climate change can contribute to conflict, especially in vulnerable and food-insecure regions, creating a double vulnerability for communities, which are pushed beyond their ability to cope.

Furthermore, climate change raises four key inequities that play out at the interface of climate change and food security: 1. the degree of responsibility for causing climate change 2. the intergenerational impacts of climate change 3. the impacts of climate change on poorer people in the Global South 4. the ability and capacity to deal with climate change impacts

Current actions are inadequate for the scale of the threat that climate change poses to food security. Transformation—a fundamental change in the attributes of human and natural systems—is now recognized as central to climate-resilient development pathways that can achieve zero hunger. Individual and collective values and behaviors must push toward sustainability and a fairer balance of political, cultural, and institutional power in society.

In previous years, topics included:

2010: Early childhood undernutrition among children younger than the age of two.

2011: Rising and more volatile food prices of the recent years and the effects these changes have on hunger and malnutrition.

2012: Achieving food security and sustainable use of natural resources, when the natural sources of food become increasingly scarce.

2013: Strengthening community resilience against undernutrition and malnutrition.

2014: Hidden hunger, a form of undernutrition characterized by micronutrient deficiencies.

2015: Armed conflict and its relation to hunger.

2016: Reaching the UN Sustainable Development Goal of zero hunger by 2030.

2017: The challenges of inequality and hunger.

2018: Forced migration and hunger.

UPSC Prelims 2021 Important topics: Global Hunger Index 2020

Calculation of GHI Scores: UPSC Prelims 2021 Important topics: Global Hunger Index 2020

The Global Hunger Index measures hunger on a 100-point scale, with 0 being the best score (no hunger) and 100 being the worst, although neither of these extremes is reached in practice. The severity of hunger associated with the range of possible GHI scores is as follows:

  • Low ≤ 9.9
  • Moderate 10.0-19.9
  • Serious 20.0-34.9
  • Alarming 35.0-49.9
  • Extremely alarming ≥ 50.0

The GHI combines 4 component indicators:

  1. the proportion of the undernourished as a percentage of the population;
  2. the proportion of children under the age of five suffering from wasting, a sign of acute undernutrition;
  3. the proportion of children under the age of five suffering from stunting, a sign of chronic undernutrition; and
  4. the mortality rate of children under the age of five.

In 2020, data were assessed for the 132 countries that met the criteria for inclusion in the GHI, and GHI scores were calculated for 107 of those countries based on data from 2015 to 2019. Data to calculate GHI scores come from published United Nations sources (Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, World Health Organization, UNICEF, and Inter-agency Group for Child Mortality Estimation, the World Bank, and Demographic and Health Surveys. Of the 132 countries assessed, 25 did not have sufficient data to allow for the calculation of a 2020 GHI score, but provisional designations of the severity of hunger were assigned to 18 of those countries based on other known data. For the remaining 7 countries, data were insufficient to allow for either calculating GHI scores or assigning provisional categories.

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