Delegates to the U.N. Food Systems Summit this fall face some sobering realities. Some 928 million people — 12 percent of the world's population — were “severely food insecure” in 2020, about 148 million more than in 2019. Severe food insecurity occurs when someone experiences hunger due to lack of food for a day or more. Another 155 million people faced “acute food insecurity,” which can include malnutrition, starvation or famine. The shortages — which were more pronounced in poor countries than in wealthier ones — were caused by conflicts, climate disruption and economic shocks exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. But even before the pandemic, the world was not on track to eliminate hunger by 2030, a major U.N. goal established in 2015. Debates over ...

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