May 29, 2015 By Alusine Sesay
A joint release from the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and World Food Programme (WFP) states that 72 countries have achieved the Millennium Development target of halving proportion of the chronically undernourished and that the number of hungry people in the world has dropped to 795 million.
“The number of hungry people in the world has dropped to 795 million – 216 million fewer than in 1990-92 – or around one person out of every nine, according to the latest edition of the annual UN hunger report,” the release noted.
Quoting the United Nations State of Food Insecurity in the World Report 2015, the release observed that in developing regions, the prevalence of undernourishment – which measures the proportion of people who are unable to consume enough food for an active and healthy life – has declined to 12.9 percent of the population, down from 23.3 percent a quarter of a century ago.
“A majority – 72 out of 129 – of the countries monitored by FAO have achieved the Millennium Development Goal target of halving the prevalence of undernourishment by 2015, with developing regions as a whole missing the target by a small margin. In addition, 29 countries have met the more ambitious goal laid out at the World Food Summit in 1996, when governments committed to halving the absolute number of undernourished people by 2015.”
FAO Director General, José Graziano da Silva, noted that the near-achievement of the MDG hunger targets shows that the world can indeed eliminate the scourge of hunger and that, “We must be the Zero Hunger generation. That goal should be mainstreamed into all policy interventions and at the heart of the new sustainable development agenda to be established this year”.
IFAD President, Kanayo F. Nwanze, said if the world wishes to create a world free from poverty and hunger, then every government must make it a priority to invest in rural areas of developing countries where most of the world’s poorest and hungriest people live.
“We must work to create a transformation in our rural communities so they provide decent jobs, decent conditions and decent opportunities,” said Nwanze. “We must invest in rural areas so that our nations can have balanced growth, and so that the three billion people who live in rural areas can fulfill their potential.”
WFP Executive Director, Ertharin Cousin, noted that men, women and children need nutritious food every day to have any chance of a free and prosperous future and that, “Healthy bodies and minds are fundamental to both individual and economic growth, and that growth must be inclusive for us to make hunger history”.