The report, which also assesses the social impacts of food security, notes that the absolute number of undernourished people had increased to an estimated 821 million people in 2017 – 10.9% of the world population. While a number of potential factors are cited as causes for this, adverse climate events in many regions are identified as a key force behind the rise in global hunger. Climate extremes and variability are also highlighted as leading causes of severe food crises globally, exacerbating existing food insecurity and poverty.
In the research carried out by the United Nations, food security and nutrition indicators can be clearly linked with an extreme climatic event, such as severe drought, that critically challenges agriculture and food production. The study notes that for around 36% of the countries that experienced a rise in undernourishment amongst the population, this coincided with the occurrence of severe agricultural drought.
From the research conducted, it is clear that climate variability and extremes are undermining all dimensions of food security. This is particularly acute when considering the additional impact of biodiversity loss, especially in plants.