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About this report

The State of Food Insecurity in the World 2004 reports on progress and setbacks in efforts to reach the goal set by the World Food Summit (WFS) in 1996 - to halve the number of chronically hungry people in the world by the year 2015.

The first section of the report, Undernourishment around the world, presents the latest estimates of the number of undernourished people along with preliminary calcu­lations of the heavy economic burden imposed by hunger and malnutrition.

This year's Special feature focuses on the impact that the rapid growth of cities and incomes in developing countries has had on hunger and food security.

The Towards the Summit commitments section presents examples of ­issues and actions that are essential to fulfilling the commitments in the WFS Plan of Action and related Millennium Development Goals.

Tables provide detailed indicators of the status and progress of developing countries and countries in transition.

FIVIMSFood Insecurity and Vulnerability Information and Mapping Systems

It hardly seems that a year has gone by since I sat down to write the introduction for The State of Food Insecurity in the World 2003. Time passes by so quickly for many of us. But for hundreds of millions of hungry people who must worry about where their next meal will come from, this has been another long, painful year. In this publication we see that the number of hungry people remains intolerably high, progress in reaching them unconscionably slow and the costs in ruined lives and wasted resources incalculably large. For those children and adults who were reached, we may have made a life-changing difference. But the lives of far too many others continue to be plagued by hunger and poverty.

In last year's report, I mentioned the external assessment of the Inter-Agency Working Group on FIVIMS (IAWG-FIVIMS) that was under way at that time. The assessment pulled no punches. While noting some very positive initiatives and results, it concluded that FIVIMS had failed to live up to its true potential. Our membership pledged to find new ways of working together to meet a need that remains even more urgent today than when FIVIMS was created. At our annual meeting in April 2004, we agreed on a new organizational structure. We are currently defining our business plan for the future, and, in particular, identifying high-priority areas of activity for the next two years.

Our goal remains unchanged - to help countries establish quality food insecurity information systems that will provide the timely information needed both to formulate effective policies and programmes and to monitor progress in achieving global, national and local goals. We need to go beyond making a world of difference in the lives of a few hungry people to making a different world - a world where the scourge of hunger is confined to the annals of the past.

Lynn R Brown (World Bank)


IAWG-FIVIMS membership

Bilateral aid and technical agencies
Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID)
Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA)
EuropeAid Co-operation Office (EuropeAid)
German Agency for Technical Cooperation (GTZ)
United Kingdom Department for International Development (DFID)
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 (SCN)

International agricultural research organizations
Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR)
International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI)
International Service for National Agricultural Research (ISNAR)
International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT)

International non-governmental organizations
Helen Keller International (HKI)
The Rockefeller Foundation
Save the Children Fund UK (SCFUK)
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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