Chapter 1 Sustainable Development Goal 2.1: Undernourishment and Food Insecurity

1.1 PREVALENCE OF UNDERNOURISHMENT

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) PoU indicator is derived from official country data on food supply, food consumption and dietary energy needs in the population, considering such demographic characteristics as age, sex and level of physical activity. Designed to capture a state of chronic energy deprivation, it does not reflect the shortlived effects of temporary crises or a temporarily inadequate intake of essential nutrients. FAO strives always to improve the accuracy of the PoU estimates by considering new information; the entire historical series is updated for each report. For this reason, only the current series of estimates should be used, including for values in past years (FAO et al., 2019).

In the past two decades, countries in the ECA region have made significant progress in combating undernourishment, most notably from 2000 to 2011. In 2000, the PoU in the entire region was 3.1 percent, and it has been below 2.5 percent since 2004 (FIGURE 1, TABLE 1).

All ECA subregions except Central Asia show PoU levels below 2.5 percent since 2012 (TABLE 1). In 2020, during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the PoU in the Central Asia subregion reached 3.2 percent, an increase of 0.5 percentage points from the previous year. However, the PoU in Central Asia declined from 2021 to 2022, dropping to 3.0 percent. The PoU in all subregions was still lower than the world average of 9.2 percent in 2022.

FIGURE 1

Prevalence of undernourishment by subregion

NOTES: The values for 2020 to 2022 are projections. Numbers are not reported when the PoU is lower than 2.5 percent. FAO does not consider national-level PoU estimates lower than 2.5 percent to be sufficiently reliable for reporting due to statistical margins of error around the parameters used to calculate the PoU. The estimated PoU has been below 2.5 percent of the population in Europe and Central Asia since 2004, in CIS Europe and Ukraine since 2005, in the Western Balkans since 2010, and in the Caucasus since 2012.
SOURCE: Adapted from FAO. 2023. Suite of Food Security Indicators. In: FAOSTAT. Rome. [Cited July 2023]. https://www.fao.org/faostat/en/#data/FS
Download: https://doi.org/10.4060/CC8608EN-fig01
TABLE 1.

Prevalence of undernourishment by subregion, percent

2000201020142019202020212022
WORLD12.78.67.77.98.99.39.2
Europe and Central Asia3.1<2.5<2.5<2.5<2.5<2.5<2.5
Caucasus18.33.0<2.5<2.5<2.5<2.5<2.5
Central Asia14.46.64.42.83.33.23.0
CIS Europe and Ukraine4.9<2.5<2.5<2.5<2.5<2.5<2.5
EFTA countries<2.5<2.5<2.5<2.5<2.5<2.5<2.5
EU-27 and the United Kingdom<2.5<2.5<2.5<2.5<2.5<2.5<2.5
Other<2.5<2.5<2.5<2.5<2.5<2.5<2.5
Western Balkans4.4<2.5<2.5<2.5<2.5<2.5<2.5
NOTE: The values for 2020 to 2022 are projections.
SOURCE: Adapted from FAO. 2023. Suite of Food Security Indicators. In: FAOSTAT. Rome. [Cited July 2023]. https://www.fao.org/faostat/en/#data/FS

The data in FIGURE 2 for 2013-2015 and 2020-2022 show the persistence of the PoU in some countries. According to 2020-2022 data, nine countries in the ECA region have a PoU above 2.5 percent: Albania, Georgia, Kyrgyzstan, Malta, North Macedonia, Slovakia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Ukraine. Tajikistan has the highest prevalence of undernourishment in the ECA region, followed by Turkmenistan, Kyrgyzstan and Ukraine. Tajikistan has achieved significant progress in the reduction of PoU, from 18.8 percent in 2013-2015 to 9.3 percent in 2020-2022. During the same period, the PoU increased only in Malta and Ukraine, while it decreased in all the other countries mentioned above.

Since the early 2000s, most countries in the region have achieved the target of eradicating hunger. In 2000, the number of undernourished in the ECA region was 26.6 million (TABLE 2), and this has fallen significantly. The numbers are not reported for 2022 due to the PoU being lower than 2.5 percent in many countries.1 The number of undernourished in Central Asia has dropped from 8.1 million in 2000 to 4.2 million in 2010 and to 2.3 million in 2022, a drop of 45 percent from 2010 to 2022. The number of undernourished in the other subregions is not reported, as the PoU in those places is below 2.5 percent. 1 FAO does not consider national-level PoU estimates lower than 2.5 percent to be sufficiently reliable for reporting due to statistical margins of error around the parameters used to calculate the PoU.

TABLE 2.

Number of undernourished people by subregion, millions

2000201020142019202020212022
WORLD781.7597.8563.9612.8701.4738.8735.1
Europe and Central Asia26.6n.r.n.r.n.r.n.r.n.r.n.r.
Caucasus2.90.5n.r.n.r.n.r.n.r.n.r.
Central Asia8.14.23.02.02.52.42.3
CIS Europe and Ukraine10.4n.r.n.r.n.r.n.r.n.r.n.r.
EFTA countriesn.r.n.r.n.r.n.r.n.r.n.r.n.r.
EU-27 and the United Kingdomn.r.n.r.n.r.n.r.n.r.n.r.n.r.
Othern.r.n.r.n.r.n.r.n.r.n.r.n.r.
Western Balkans0.8n.r.n.r.n.r.n.r.n.r.n.r.
NOTE: The values for 2020 to 2022 are projections. n.r. = not reported, as the prevalence is less than 2.5 percent.
SOURCE: Adapted from FAO. 2023. Suite of Food Security Indicators. In: FAOSTAT. Rome. [Cited July 2023]. https://www.fao.org/faostat/en/#data/FS
FIGURE 2

Prevalence of undernourishment in Europe and Central Asia, selected countries and subregions

NOTE: The values for 2020 to 2022 are projections. The prevalence of undernourishment was less than 2.5 percent in Malta and Ukraine in 2013-2015 and in Bulgaria in 2020-2022. The chart shows the countries and subregions with a PoU above 2.5 percent in either of those periods.
SOURCE: Adapted from FAO. 2023. Suite of Food Security Indicators. In: FAOSTAT. Rome. [Cited July 2023]. https://www.fao.org/faostat/en/#data/FS
Download: https://doi.org/10.4060/CC8608EN-fig02

The food security situation in Europe and Central Asia is reflected in both the PoU and in the prevalence of moderate or severe food insecurity.