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World Hunger Drops Below 800 Million For The First Time in 25 Years

The UN now thinks we can eradicate hunger within a generation.

FIONA MACDONALD
29 MAY 2015
 

In promising news, a new report has revealed that there are now less then 800 million hungry people around the world, despite significant population growth - the lowest number since the United Nations (UN) first started counting back in 1990.

Obviously we can't celebrate the fact that there are still 795 million people worldwide who don't have sufficient access to food, but that's 216 million fewer than in 1990-92, and the UN believes it's on track to eradicate global hunger within a single generation.

 

In fact, 72 out of the 129 countries that are being monitored by the UN's Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) have halved undernourishment in their populations - a target that was originally set as part of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in 2000 by the UN. 

"The near-achievement of the MDG hunger targets shows us that we can indeed eliminate the scourge of hunger in our lifetime," Jose Graziano da Silva, the director general of the FAO, said in a press release. "We must be the zero hunger generation."

The report, called The State of Food Insecurity in the World 2015, shows that the prevalence of undernourishment in developing regions has dropped from 23.3 to 12.9 percent just 25 years ago, with the biggest improvements made in East, Southeast and Central Asia, regions of Africa, as well as Latin America and the Caribbean. Across those regions, stable political conditions and economic growth had greatly helped countries meet their hunger-reduction targets.

But there was also bad news, with the report showing that natural disasters, extreme weather events and political instability had held back progress in recent years. The study found that in countries that are suffering drawn-out crises, the rates of hunger are more than three times higher than elsewhere.

"In West Asia, where hygiene conditions are generally advanced and child underweight rates low, the incidence of hunger has risen due to war, civil strife and consequent large migrant and refugee populations in some countries," the UN reported to the press.

In particular, Sub-Saharan Africa is struggling, with more than 23 percent of the population not getting enough to eat.

"Twenty-four African countries currently face food crises, twice as many as in 1990," the UN reported. And 19 of these countries had been in crisis for more than eight years out of the previous decade.

The challenge now is to find ways to bring stability to these regions in order to allow people to get enough food to improve their futures.

"Men, women and children need nutritious food every day to have any chance of a free and prosperous future," said World Food Programme executive director, Ertharin Cousin. "Healthy bodies and minds are fundamental to both individual and economic growth, and that growth must be inclusive for us to make hunger history."

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