Despite the fact that the right to food is recognized directly or indirectly by all countries in the world, hunger -- whether caused by war, drought, natural disaster or poverty -- continues to cause widespread suffering. Ensuring the right to adequate food and to freedom from hunger is a matter of international law, specifically enshrined in a number of human rights instruments to which states around the world have committed themselves. The right to food is at the heart of FAO's mandate to ensure a world free from hunger, and its fulfilment is essential to the fight against poverty.
Of the 36,1 million people living with HIV/AIDS, an overwhelming 95 percent live in developing countries. And within those countries, AIDS is becoming a greater threat in rural areas than in cities. In absolute numbers, more people living with HIV reside in rural areas. The epidemic is spreading with alarming speed into the remotest villages, affecting all aspects of rural well being, agricultural production and possibilities for future sustainable development. Read about the threat to rural Africa.
Just how deep is the hunger suffered by the world's more than 800 million undernourished people? A new tool for assessing the severity of want has been introduced by FAO in this year's edition of the state of food insecurity in the world: the depth of hunger. This is a measure of the per person food deficit of the undernourished population within each country. Measured in kilocalories, it aims to assess just how empty people's plates are each day.
Ten years ago, farmers in the department of Lempira, Honduras could barely produce enough maize, beans and sorghum to feed their families. In 1998, when Hurricane Mitch hit the country, the same farmers provided tonnes of emergency food aid to their fellow citizens in other parts of the country. The credit for this dramatic turn-around goes to a rural development project administered by FAO, which introduced sustainable farming methods. More importantly, by emphasizing the involvement of the beneficiaries, it proved that local participation is the key ingredient in development.
The State of Food Insecurity in the World provides the latest estimates of the number of chronically hungry people in the developing world and introduces the first comparable estimates ever made of the number of people who go hungry in industrialized countries and countries in transition. It serves as a progress report on global and national efforts to reach the goal set by the World Food Summit in 1996 - to reduce the number of undernourished people in the world by half by the year 2015.
Fish contribute a significant amount of animal protein to the diets of people worldwide. It is estimated that between 15 and 20 percent of all animal proteins come from aquatic animals. Not only is fish a vital food, it is also a source of work and money for millions of people around the globe. In 1996, an estimated 30 million men and women were deriving an income from fisheries. We look at how fisheries contribute to global food security.