“Vigorous and urgent action by nations and the world has been effective in helping to halt galloping hunger numbers,” said Josette Sheeran, UN World Food Programme (WFP) Executive Director.
Next week, world leaders will gather at UN Headquarters in New York to assess progress made in achieving the MDGs. Goal 1 is to halve the proportion of the world’s hungry from 20 to 10 per cent, and with 5 years left till the 2015 deadline, that proportion still stands at 16 per cent.
At the World Food Summit in 1996, the quantitative target of halving the number of hungry people was set for the first time, from 800 million in 1990-92 to some 400 million by 2015. For this target to be met, the number of hungry will have to be cut by 500 million in the next five years.
According to FAO, the fact that historically the number of undernourished people continued to increase even in periods of high growth and relatively low prices indicates that hunger is a structural problem. Although essential, economic growth alone, the agency noted, is not sufficient to wipe out hunger in an acceptable time frame.
“Success stories do exist in Africa, in Asia and in Latin America,” Diouf said, calling for such experiences to be replicated and scaled up.
This year’s hunger figure marked a nearly10 per cent decline from the 2009 level, with the reduction concentrated in Asia, where 80 million fewer people are estimated to be going hungry this year. In sub-Saharan Africa, the drop was much lower at 12 million, with one out of every three people in the region still undernourished. Next month, FAO and WFP will release their joint flagship report, “The State of Food Insecurity in the World.”
Among its findings will be that two thirds of the world’s hungry live in just seven countries: Bangladesh, China, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Ethiopia, India, Indonesia and Pakistan – APP