Analysis of progress in reducing hunger rarely reveals startling changes from one year to the next. Occasionally a major shock of nature or history - such as a cyclone, economic slump or war - may trigger a food security crisis. But the impact of such events tends to be transitory, reflected in a sharp spike in the numbers that does not alter the long-term trajectory. Reaching the World Food Summit target will require successful efforts to change the long-term trends and to understand the many factors that determine them.
Conditions vary considerably from one place to another and so do the combinations of factors that leave particular population groups vulnerable to poverty and hunger. Usually many different demographic, environmental, economic, social and political elements are involved. In the follow- up to the World Food Summit, considerable effort has gone into developing effective methods and indicators to monitor these factors. Some preliminary results of this effort are presented in this section by focusing on eight countries that have registered particularly significant changes in prevalence of undernourishment since 1980. Two countries are highlighted from each of the four regions in the developing world - the country where the prevalence of hunger has been reduced most rapidly and the one that has suffered the worst setbacks.
shocks: floods, drought, war and financial collapse threaten