World Hunger Falls; 805 Million Still Hungry

November 5, 2014

The 2014 State of Food Insecurity in the World Released

The United Nations 2014 State of Food Insecurity in the World (SOFI 2014) Report, issued on Sept. 16, 2014, shows that global hunger is declining and important progress in eradicating hunger has been made.

Indeed, figures from the report demonstrate that the hunger target of the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) of halving the proportion of the undernourished people in developing countries by 2015 is within reach.

While there has been significant progress in reducing hunger globally, the report finds that there are still 805 million people – one in nine – suffering from chronic malnourishment in 2012 – 2014. And while significant strides have been made in many countries, continued and substantial effort is needed in others.

The SOFI report is published annually by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the World Food Programme (WFP). This year’s report consists of case studies in seven countries: Bolivia, Brazil, Haiti, Indonesia, Madagascar, Malawi and Yemen. These cases studies explain trends in hunger and food security based on internal efforts as well as social, political and environmental factors.

According to the report, the prevalence of undernourishment has fallen from 18.7 to 11.3 percent globally, and from 23.4 to 13. 5 percent in developing countries. China alone has reduced the number of undernourished people by 138 million during the period, while the 10 countries that have achieved greatest success in reducing the total number of hungry people in proportion to their national population are: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Brazil, Cuba, Georgia, Ghana, Kuwait, Saint Vincent and Grenadines, Thailand and Venezuela.

SOFI 2014 noted how access to food has improved rapidly and significantly in countries that have experienced overall economic progress, notably in Eastern and South-Eastern Asia.

“This is proof that we can win the war against hunger and should inspire countries to move forward, with the assistance of the international community as needed,” the heads of FAO, IFAD and WFP, José Graziano da Silva, Kanayo F. Nwanze and Ertharin Cousin, wrote in their foreword to the report.

Despite progress, measurable differences remain across regions. Latin America and the Caribbean have made the greatest overall progress in increasing food security. Limited progress has been made in sub-Saharan African and Western Asia.

The report states there are several prerequisites for hunger eradication including, sustained political commitment at the highest level. Political commitment, placing food security at the top of the agenda, and creating an enabling environment for improving food security and nutrition are critical to reducing hunger.

In addition, the report emphasizes that a holistic approach, which is central to the way in which the Hunger Project does its work, is critical. The complex nature of food insecurity requires a multi-sectoral approach that engages civil society organizations and public and private organizations. According to the report, the following elements are critical to the reduction eradication of hunger:

  • agricultural productivity
  • access to land, services, technologies and markets
  • measures to promote rural development
  • social protection for the most vulnerable
  • strengthening resilience for conflicts and natural disasters
  • specific nutrition programs, particularly to address micronutrient deficiencies in mothers and children under five

The Hunger Project is excited about the significant progress made in reducing hunger documented in the SOFI report, and is determined to eradicate hunger globally by 2030 through a holistic approach that empowers women, mobilizes communities and fosters effective partnerships with local governments.

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