For the first time in a decade, the number of hungry people is on the rise. The scale of humanitarian need and the changing nature of global conflict requires fresh insight into the relationship between hunger and instability. Winning the Peace takes a deeper dive.
In 2017, it is estimated that 20 million people are facing famine across South Sudan, Yemen, Somalia and northeast Nigeria. Famine, as defined by the Integrated Food Security Phase Classification system, occurs when 20 percent of the population experiences extreme food shortages; at least 30 percent of children under age five suffer from acute malnutrition; and the death rate has doubled, or two per 10,000 people are dying every day.
According to the Famine Early Warning Systems Network, the most important driver of food insecurity in 2017 is persistent conflict, disrupting livelihoods and trade across regions. With the exception of Somalia, which faces looming famine as a result of both conflict and three consecutive years of drought, the other three countries face worsening food insecurity primarily as a byproduct of internal civil strife.
In August 2017, the U.N. Security Council adopted a statement formally acknowledging the link between conflict and famine — the first product adopted by the Security Council in its history related to famine.