UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres

No fewer than 815 million people are hungry in the world, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) Report 2018 has revealed.

The report stated that conflict and climate change were major contributing factors to increased hunger and forced displacement, among other challenges, according to the News Agency of Nigeria, NAN.

“For the first time in more than a decade, the number who are not getting enough to eat is trending upwards, and there are now approximately 38 million more hungry people in the world: rising from 777 million in 2015, to 815 million a year later,” the report stated.

According to the UN report, conflict is now one of the main drivers of food insecurity in nearly 20 countries.

While more people are leading better lives than a decade ago, persistent poverty and hunger, as well as rapid urbanisation, are challenging global efforts to create a more just and equitable world, the report found.

The study provided a snapshot of progress towards achieving the 17 SDGs, adopted by world leaders in 2015.

“With just 12 years left to the 2030 deadline, we must inject a sense of urgency,” UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said in a forward to the report.

The report however, pointed out some good news, such as the significant decline in the number of people living on less than two dollars a day.

That number fell from 26.9 per cent in 2000, to 9.2 per cent in 2017, while the mortality rate for children under-five also has dropped, by almost 50 per cent in the world’s least developed countries.

However, 2.3 billion people still lacked basic sanitation, while more than 890 million worldwide continue to practice open defecation, according to the report.

The report also found that whereas there were 210 million cases of malaria in 2013, the number jumped to 216 million just three years later.

Francesca Perucci, Assistant Director, UN’s Statistics Division of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs, pointed to the importance of timely data collection and analysis to monitor SDGs progress.

“The report highlights the need for political leadership, adequate resources and commitment to further expand on tools available for data collection, production and dissemination, to ensure that all countries have rigorous evidence and comprehensive data to guide programmes and efforts towards 2030,” she said.

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