World hunger: No reason for celebration yet, data masks real struggle – UN


While the number of hungry people across the globe has seen a sharp fall over the past decade, one in nine people throughout the world – 805 million – still do not have enough to eat, says a joint report by three UN food and agriculture agencies.

The number of chronically undernourished people dropped by more than 100 million – equivalent to a country the size of the Philippines – according to a report by the United Nations food agency (FAO), the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), and the World Food Programme (WFP).

However, some success stories – such as in Brazil – mask real struggles in countries like Haiti, where large concentrations of undernourished people still remain, the report’s authors pointed out.

“We cannot celebrate yet because we must reach 805 million people without enough food for a healthy and productive life,” WFP executive director Ertharin Cousin said.

Twenty-five developing countries have already met the ambitious goal of halving the absolute number of chronically undernourished people between 1990 and 2015. But there is not enough time for the rest of the world to achieve the same rates by 2015, the report states.

The highest rate of undernourishment in the world – 52 percent – belongs to Haiti. An earthquake in 2010, followed by several hurricanes in 2012 and a drought in 2014, have limited the government's capacity to get enough food to residents, according to the WFP.

The UN agencies’ report shows that the problem of hunger is not something isolated to third world countries. In the US, millions of children go to sleep hungry every night, according to the data gathered.

According to Silva, the measurable progress does not necessarily mean that efforts to eliminate world undernourishment have become less challenging.

“Low prices do not ensure that the poorest will get more food,” said the FAO director general. “If there is not...access, low prices will not be enough.”

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