October 18, 2018 11:43

2018 Global Hunger Index: Forced Migration and Hunger

2018 Global Hunger Index by Severity

How has the level of hunger worldwide developed in recent years? How do hunger and forced migration relate? The Global Hunger Index offers composite data and analysis on latest developments

Alliance2015 launched the 2018 Global Hunger Index (#GHI2018) published jointly by Alliance2015 members Concern Worldwide and Welthungerhilfe at the European Parliament on 16 October 2018.

The 2018 Global Hunger Index (GHI) report—the thirteenth in an annual series—presents a multidimensional measure of global, regional, and national hunger using data on undernourishment, child wasting, child stunting and child mortality. The latest data available show that while the world has made progress in reducing hunger since 2000, we still have a long way to go to meet the 2030 goal of Zero Hunger. Levels of hunger are still serious or alarming in 51 countries and extremely alarming in one country (Central African Republic) and globally 44 million people suffer from acute hunger than 2 years ago.

This year’s report focuses on hunger and the rising levels of forced migration—two interlinked challenges that require a clearer grasp of root causes and consequences, to be met by sustained long-term action and political solutions.  SOAS expert Dr. Laura Hammond, author of this year’s GHI essay stressed this, saying “Hunger is often understood to result from environmental or natural causes but in fact, like displacement, it is usually the result of political circumstances, needing therefore a political solution.”

GHI scores could not be calculated for several countries because data were not available for all four GHI indicators. Yet the hunger and undernutrition situations in seven of these countries—Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo, Eritrea, Libya, Somalia, South Sudan, and Syria—give cause for significant concern. In each of these seven countries, violent conflict, political unrest, and/or extreme poverty have precipitated substantial flows of forced migration, which is closely associated with food insecurity. Bucay Deng, Deputy Country Director in South Sudan, said “Conflict is the major driver for hunger, and the donor community needs to address that as well as ensuring they have a unified approach in order for funding to reach those most in need.” Amina Abdulla, Country Director from Concern Worldwide added: “Prioritising food and nutrition security is an important step to achieve Zero Hunger, and we need to invest long term and wisely with our funding to build on existing resilience in a way that lasts”.  Emphasizing the need to reach the furthest behind first she said: “it may cost more to reach those left furthest behind now, but it will cost much more in lost capacity if we don’t act on this now”.

Despite the sobering statistics in a number of countries, there is cause for optimism. Although there are exceptions, the overall trends in hunger and undernutrition are promising and show improvements over time. This year’s GHI includes 27 countries with moderate levels of hunger and 40 countries with low levels of hunger. Even some countries in South Asia and Africa south of the Sahara—the regions with the highest hunger and undernutrition levels—have achieved moderate scores.  In order to unpack what’s going on behind the national averages, the 2018 GHI report takes a closer look at the hunger and nutrition situations of two countries—Bangladesh and Ethiopia—which have serious levels of hunger but have achieved notable progress through a range of potentially transferrable policies and programmes.

The GHI offers 3 sets of policy recommendations to the EU:


  • Leave no one hungry or malnourished. To this regard the EU must strengthen policies towards preventing and ending conflict and demonstrate political leadership at international level by addressing the double burden of hunger and forced displacement.
  • Implement long term solutions. Building on its longstanding commitment to Aid Effectiveness, galvanised by the EU Consensus on Development, the EU must work towards greater alignment of those instruments designed to tackle hunger and forced migration, including EU Action Plan on Nutrition, the EU Action Plan on Resilience, the European External Investment Plan (EIP), the EU Emergency Trust Fund for Africa (EUTF), and the recently proposed Neighbourhood, Development and International Cooperation Instrument (NDICI).
  • Show solidarity, share responsibility. EU policy engagement on displacement must recognise the root causes and drivers, such as hunger, which link to European concerns on human rights, humanitarian assistance and development cooperation.


Speakers at the international launch included Phil Hogan, Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development, Brian Hayes, MEP, Arne Lietz, MEP, Linda McAvan, MEP (Chair of Committee on Development), Bucay Deng (Deputy Country Director, Welthungerhilfe South Sudan), Amina Abdulla (Country Director, Concern Worldwide Kenya), Laura Hammond (Reader in Development Studies, SOAS, London), Dominic MacSorley (CEO Concern Worldwide and Member of Alliance2015 Executive Board).

The Global Hunger Index consists of: