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Monday, October 30, 2006

Work Harder To End World Hunger, UN Says

Noting that promises are no substitute for food, Jacques Diouf, director-general of the UN Food and Agriculture program, called onworld leaders to honor a 10-year-old pledge to halve the number of hungry in the world by 2015.

Ten years after the 1996 World Food Summit (WFS) in Rome, whichpromised to reduce the number of undernourished people by half by 2015, there were more hungry people in the developing countries today -- 820 million -- than there were in 1996, Diouf says.

"Far from decreasing, the number of hungry people in the world iscurrently increasing -- at the rate of four million a year," he continued.

Diouf spoke in Rome at the launch of the annual FAO report, The State of Food Insecurity in the World, or SOFI.

The leaders of the 185 countries who took part in the 1996 summit termed world hunger "unacceptable and intolerable," Diouf recalled. "Today, I am deeply sorry to report that the situation remains intolerable andunacceptable -- all the more so because ten years have passed."

Failure to achieve the World Food Summit objective would be "shameful," he added.

According to the SOFI report, today's estimated 820 million under-nourished people in developing countries represent a marginal reduction of 3 million as against the 1990-1992 baseline of 823 million used by the summit.

But the performance is even worse if measured against the 1996 world total of some 800 million -- a 23 million increase, he says.

Keeping the summit pledge would require reducing the number of undernourished by 31 million every year until 2015, whereas the number of hungry is currently climbing at the rate of some 4 million a year. Nonetheless, over the past 10 years, the proportion of people suffering from hunger in developing countries has gone down as the overall population has gone up, the SOFI report noted.

One in five people in the developing countries was under-nourished in1990- 92, and this has now gone down to 17 percent.

The report listed a series of steps which, it said, was needed to eradicate hunger in the years ahead. They included: focusing programs and investments on "hotspots" of poverty and undernourishment; enhancing theproductivity of smallholder agriculture; creating the right conditions forprivate investment, including transparency and good governance; makingworld trade work for the poor, with safety nets put in place for vulnerablegroups; and a rapid increase in the level of Official DevelopmentAssistance (ODA) to 0.7 percent of GDP, as promised.

"We must step up dramatically our efforts to reach the WFS hungerreduction target. If the political will is there we can reach it," the report concluded.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

They shouldn't just work harder, they should work smarter. That means popularizing such simple but effective inventions such as the chicken tractor in the third world. Oh, and getting clean water would also help, so we need to build better filtration systems.

1:50 PM  

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