Failing to Meet UN ‘Zero Hunger’ Goals

Kelly MarshallAg Group, Food

ifpriThe United Nations set a Sustainable Development Goal to end hunger by 2030.  According to information provided by the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), the global community is not on course to meet this goal.  The study indicates that at the current rate of decline in hunger, more than 45 countries will still face food shortages by 2030, countries like India, Pakistan, Haiti, Yemen and Afghanistan.

“Simply put, countries must accelerate the pace at which they are reducing hunger or we will fail to achieve the second Sustainable Development Goal,” said IFPRI Director General Shenggen Fan. “Ending global hunger is certainly possible, but it’s up to all of us that we set the priorities right to ensure that governments, the private sector and civil society devote the time and resources necessary to meet this important goal.”

According to the report, seven countries had “alarming” levels of hunger, with The Central African Republic, Chad and Zambia at the top of that list.  Another 43 countries had “serious” hunger levels, including high-population countries like India, Nigeria and Indonesia.

There was some good news, along side the bad.  Hunger levels in developing nations, as measured by the Global Hunger Index, have fallen by 29 percent since the year 2000.  Twenty countries have reduced their GHI scores by more than 50 percent– countries like Rwanda, Cambodia and Myanmar.  Also encouraging is that, for the second year in a row, no developing countries have fallen into the “extremely alarming” category.

But declines in average hunger levels across regions or individual countries do not tell the whole story. The averages can mask lagging areas where millions are still hungry, demonstrating the need for data and targeted solutions for the communities facing the greatest need. Although the Latin America region has the lowest regional GHI score in the developing world, Haiti, for example, has the fourth highest GHI score at an “alarming” 36.9. Mexico has a low level of overall hunger, but also contains areas within its borders where child stunting—an indicator of child undernutrition—is relatively high.

“Whilst the world has made progress in the fight against hunger there are still 795 million people condemned to facing hunger every day of their lives,” said Dominic MacSorley, CEO of Concern Worldwide. “This is not just unacceptable, it is immoral and shameful. Resources like the Global Hunger Index provide us with a critical insight into the scale of the global hunger crisis. Agenda 2030 provides us with the ambition and commitment to reach zero hunger. We have the technology, knowledge and resources to achieve that vision. What is missing is both the urgency and the political will to turn commitments into action.”

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