Think Ending World Hunger is Unachievable? Think Again. Six Things to Know

January 20, 2015

Hunger is not inevitable. It is not too big of a problem to solve. In fact, it has improved dramatically in just the last 30 years. Indeed, according to international agencies like the World Bank and United Nations, ending extreme poverty and hunger by the year 2030 are an ambitious, yet achievable goal, in need of transformational policies that address inequality and boost shared prosperity. Ending hunger by 2030 is possible. Here’s why:

  1. Contrary to popular belief, world hunger has, on the whole, improved. Since 1990-92, the number of hungry people in the world has declined by 209 million people, despite an increase in world population of two billion.
  2. Many countries have greatly reduced or eliminated hunger in just 25 years. Vietnam reduced hunger from 45% in 1990-1992 to 13% in 2012-14. China reduced child stunting–having inadequate height for one’s age—from 32% in 1990 to 8% in 2010. Brazil virtually eliminated hunger (between 2000-02 and 2004-06 the undernourishment rate fell by half from 10.7% to below 5%) and reduced child stunting from 19% in 1989 to 7% in 2007. Thailand reduced hunger from 36% in 1990 to about 7% in 2012-14.
  1. The Millennium Development Goal (MDG) of cutting hunger in half is within reach. The MDG 1c hunger target of halving the proportion of undernourished people by 2015 is within reach. If the current trend of a reduction of 0.5 percent per year since 1990–92 continues, the prevalence of undernourishment in developing regions would reach 12.8 percent in 2015 – 1.1 percentage points above the MDG target of 11.7 percent.
  1. Child nutrition and health—key to ending hunger—are improving. There has been a 40% decrease in child stunting in the past 25 years.
  1. Research institutions have determined ending extreme poverty is possible by 2030. And because poverty and hunger are inextricably linked, this has a direct impact on ending hunger. According to World Bank scenarios, if we assume a per capita growth of 4 percent in each developing country (which has been the average growth rate of developing countries as a whole from 2000 to 2010) as well as unchanged income distribution (equivalent to the average for developing countries as a whole from 2000 to 2010), it is possible to bring global poverty to 3% of the world’s population – what is viewed as a statistical end to poverty – by 2030.
  1. The global community is committed. More than ever, investing in nutrition and the end of hunger is seen as a key development priority. The Group of 8 (G8) of the world’s wealthiest countries has put nutrition high on its development agenda. The United Nations Secretary-General launched a Zero Hunger Challenge. Heads of state in Africa and Latin America and the Caribbean have set goals to end hunger in their regions by 2025. And the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), to be launched in September2015, expect to include goals to put an end hunger and poverty.

While these facts demonstrate tremendous progress, ending hunger by 2030 remains a colossal task. An unacceptable 805 million people – one in nine members of our human family – live in chronic hunger. Governments and the global community must allocate sufficient resources and pursue policies and investments that promote equality while enlisting full participation at the grassroots level.

We know that when we start with women, mobilize everyone and engage governments, the end of hunger is possible.

Join us and the world community in putting an end to hunger once and for all and learn more about “Rethinking Hunger.”


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