2.1.1 Prevalence of Undernourishment
Target 2.1: By 2030, end hunger and ensure access by all people, in particular the poor and people in vulnerable situations, including infants, to safe, nutritious and sufficient food all year round
Goal 2: End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture
Custodian Organization: United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR)
Tier Classification: Tier II
To facilitate the implementation of the global indicator framework, all indicators are classified by the IAEG-SDGs (Inter-Agency and Expert Group on Sustainable Development Goals Indicators) into three tiers on the basis of their level of methodological development and the availability of data at the global level, as follows:
Tier I: Indicator is conceptually clear, has an internationally established methodology and standards are available, and data are regularly produced by countries for at least 50 per cent of countries and of the population in every region where the indicator is relevant.
Tier II: Indicator is conceptually clear, has an internationally established methodology and standards are available, but data are not regularly produced by countries.
Tier III: No internationally established methodology or standards are yet available for the indicator, but methodology/standards are being (or will be) developed or tested.
Definition: The prevalence of undernourishment (PoU) is an estimate of the proportion of the population whose habitual food consumption is insufficient to provide the dietary energy levels that are required to maintain a normal active and healthy life. It is expressed as a percentage.
Concepts: Undernourishment is defined as the condition by which a person has access, on a regular basis, to amounts of food that are insufficient to provide the energy required for conducting a normal, healthy and active life, given his or her own dietary energy requirements.
Though strictly related, “undernourishment” as defined here is different from the physical conditions of “malnutrition” and “undernutrition” as it refers to the condition of insufficient intake of food, rather than to the outcome in terms of nutritional status. In French, Spanish and Italian the difference is marked by the use of the terms alimentation, alimentación, or alimentazione, instead of nutrition, nutrición or nutrizione, in the name of the indicator. A more appropriate expression in English that would render the precise meaning of the indicator might have been “prevalence of under-feeding” but by now the term “undernourishment” has long been associated with the indicator.
While the undernourishment condition applies to individuals, due to conceptual and data-related considerations, the indicator can only be referred to a population, or group of individuals. The prevalence of undernourishment is thus an estimate of the percentage of individuals in a group that are in that condition, but it does not allow for the identification of which individuals in the group are, in fact, undernourished.
Rationale: The indicator has been used by FAO to monitor the World Food Summit Target and the MDG Target 1C, at national, regional and global level, since 1999. It allows monitoring trends in the extent of dietary energy inadequacy in a population over time, generated as a result of the combination of changes in the overall availability of food, in the households’ ability to access it, and in the socio-demographic characteristics of the population, as well as differences across countries and regions in any given moment in time.
The parametric approach adopted by FAO allows obtaining reliable estimated for relatively large population groups. As it reflects a severe condition of lack of food, it is fully consistent with the spirit of a Goal that aims at reducing hunger.
Limitations: Due to the probabilistic nature of the inference and the margins of uncertainty associated with estimates of each of the parameters in the model, the precision of the PoU estimates is generally low. Even though it is not possible to compute theoretical Margins of Error (MoE) for PoU estimates, these would very likely exceed plus or minus 5% in most cases. For this reason, FAO publishes national level PoU estimates only when they are larger than 5%. This also suggests that 5% is the lowest feasible target that can be set for the PoU indicator, a value that is unsatisfactorily large when the ambition is to fully eradicate the scourge of hunger.
If no survey is available that collects food consumption data and that is representative at subnational level, the indicator can only be computed at national level.”
Data Source: Data for this indicator was primarily collected from the United Nations Statistics Division’s Open SDG Data Hub. National level data from the UN Statistics Division is compiled by the respective custodian for the SDG indicator, unless otherwise noted. To learn more about the data used in this portal, visit the about page.
Data is accurate as of October 31, 2018.
2.1.1 Prevalence of Undernourishment in the Sustainable Development Goals
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2. End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture
It is time to rethink how we grow, share and consume our food.
If done right, agriculture, forestry and fisheries can provide nutritious food for all and generate decent incomes, while supporting people-centred rural development and protecting the environment.
Right now, our soils, freshwater, oceans, forests and biodiversity are being rapidly degraded. Climate change is putting even more pressure on the resources we depend on, increasing risks associated with disasters such as droughts and floods. Many rural women and men can no longer make ends meet on their land, forcing them to migrate to cities in search of opportunities.
A profound change of the global food and agriculture system is needed if we are to nourish today’s 815 million hungry and the additional 2 billion people expected by 2050.
The food and agriculture sector offers key solutions for development, and is central for hunger and poverty eradication.
Related 2.1.1 Prevalence of Undernourishment Targets
By 2030, end hunger and ensure access by all people, in particular the poor and people in vulnerable situations, including infants, to safe, nutritious and sufficient food all year round