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About this report

This fourth edition of The State of Food Insecurity in the World (SOFI) provides the latest estimates of the number of chronically hungry people in the world and reports on global and national efforts to reach the goal set by the World Food Summit (WFS) in 1996 to reduce that number to half the level reported at the time of the Summit by the year 2015.

The report is divided into four main sections. The first section, Undernourishment around the world, analyses the latest data on hunger. Other articles combine this data with other indicators to chart the fatal connection between hunger and mortality and the strategic connection between combating hunger and achieving the Millennium Development Goals.

The second section contains a special feature on mountain people and mountain environments. This presents preliminary results from a multidisciplinary study carried out as part of FAO's contribution to the International Year of Mountains. The study used newly available georeferenced data to estimate the number of mountain people vulnerable to food insecurity.

In the third section, Towards the Summit commitments, a series of articles discusses approaches to fulfilling the commitments in the WFS Plan of Action.

Finally, as in every edition of SOFI, two sets of tables provide detailed information on the prevalence in developing countries and countries in transition of under nourishment and on food availability, dietary diversification, poverty, health and child nutritional status.

SOFI draws on the ongoing work of FAO and its international partners in monitoring the nutritional status and analysing the vulnerability of populations worldwide. It represents part of FAO's contribution to the Inter-Agency Food Insecurity and Vulnerability Information and Mapping Systems initiative.

Food Insecurity and Vulnerability Information and Mapping Systems

I am very pleased to associate the Inter-Agency Working Group on FIVIMS (IAWG-FIVIMS) with this fourth edition of The State of Food Insecurity in the World. The information contained in this publication represents a substantial contribution to the objectives of FIVIMS, namely, to:

  • increase global attention to problems of food insecurity;
  • improve data quality and analysis through the development of new tools and capacity-building in developing countries;
  • promote effective and better directed action aimed at reducing food insecurity and poverty;
  • promote donor collaboration on food security information systems at the global and country levels;
  • improve access to information through networking and sharing.

As the membership list indicates, the IAWG-FIVIMS represents diverse perspectives and interests. But we all share a commitment to reduce global food insecurity and vulnerability and to build sustainable livelihoods for the poor. Increasingly, the sustainable livelihood approach is seen as providing a framework for monitoring and assessing both food insecurity and vulnerability and the direction and impact of our efforts to alleviate them. Some examples of vulnerable livelihoods and vulnerable environments are detailed in SOFI, with a particular focus on mountain people in keeping with the designation of 2002 as the International Year of Mountains.

The international development environment in which IAWG-FIVIMS operates has changed markedly since the 1996 World Food Summit. The Millennium Development Goal (MDG) process has assumed a prominent role in development strategies and actions. The IAWG-FIVIMS looks forward to being fully involved with the MDG initiative and with efforts to monitor its implementation and impact at global and national levels.

As with previous issues of SOFI, IAWG members commend the FAO SOFI team for an excellent report on the state of food insecurity in the world.

Krishna Belbase (UNICEF)


Bilateral aid and technical agencies
Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID)
Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA)
European Commission (EC)
German Agency for Technical Cooperation (GTZ)
United States Agency for International Development (USAID)
United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)

United Nations and Bretton Woods agencies
Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO)
International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD)
International Labour Organization (ILO)
United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UNDESA)
Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA)
United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)
United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)
United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF)
United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA)
World Bank (WB)
World Food Programme (WFP)
World Health Organization (WHO)
World Meteorological Organization (WMO)
United Nations System Standing Committee on Nutrition (UNS/SCN)
Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR)
International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI)
International Service for National Agricultural Research (ISNAR)
International Centre for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT)

International non-governmental organizations
Helen Keller International (HKI)
Save the Children Fund (SCF)
World Resources Institute (WRI)

Regional organizations
Southern African Development Community (SADC)
Permanent Interstate Committee for Drought Control in the Sahel (CILSS)

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