Who really walks the talk?
Mapping countries’ commitment to ending hunger
For years the UN has encouraged world leaders to commit to ending world hunger and undernutrition. Now we can see who is really getting the job done.
The Hunger and Nutrition Commitment Index (HANCI), published by the Institute of Development Studies (IDS), examines the political commitment of 45 developing countries to evaluate their policies and legal frameworks and to see if they are backing it all up with public money. Dr. Dolf te Lintelo, lead HANCI researcher, says the Index shines a spotlight on what governments are doing but also on what they’re failing to do. It is the first index to really hold countries accountable for their actions to end hunger.
So, who is really committed to eradicating hunger and improving nutrition?
Guatemala, for one. According to IDS’s methodology, the Government of Guatemala scored highest in both Hunger and Nutrition categories. They improved access to safe drinking water and increased levels of sanitation.
The index also revealed some interesting facts. For example, the countries with the most economic growth were not taking action to address hunger and undernutrition. And smaller countries, such as Malawi and Madagascar, are actually doing better at providing their citizens with the resources they need to have access to food.
At the 38th session of the FAO Conference on June 16, FAO handed out awards to countries that have successfully achieved the first Millennium Development Goal. MDG1 challenges governments to reduce the proportion of people suffering from hunger in their respective countries by 50 percent. The winners include: Algeria, Angola, Bangladesh, Benin, Brazil, Cambodia, Cameroon, Chile, Dominican Republic, Fiji, Honduras, Indonesia, Jordan, Malawi, Maldives, Niger, Nigeria, Panama, Togo and Uruguay.
A second award was given to 18 countries who have successfully achieved the World Food Summit target of reducing the number of undernourished by 50 percent. Those winners are: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Cuba, Djibouti, Georgia, Ghana, Guyana, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Nicaragua, Peru, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Samoa, Sao Tome and Principe, Thailand, Turkmenistan, Venezuela (Bolivarian Republic of) and Viet Nam. Nicaragua, in particular, drastically reduced chronic hunger from 55.1 to 20.1 percent over ten years.
While many countries are moving in the right direction, there is more to be done to eradicate hunger and undernutrition. Even Guatemala has a way to go, with a child stunting rate of 48 percent, one of the world’s highest. Improvement is welcome, but more countries need to make the commitment to end hunger. This is why UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon issued his Zero Hunger Challenge where the only acceptable percentage of hungry people is zero.