Hunger eradication

Hunger is the ultimate form of social and economic exclusion; a hungry person has no voice, no vote, no productive capacity. When his or her voice is heard, it is often the voice of despair and violence. A hungry person cannot plan for the future or use available resources in a sustainable manner but must act to survive on a day-to-day basis.

Eliminating hunger and malnutrition is thus both a matter of justice and an essential contribution to sustainable development.

To achieve the future we want we need to create the right linkages between universal food security and nutrition, responsible environmental stewardship and greater fairness in food management. These dimensions converge in agricultural and food systems at all levels. Healthy and productive lives depend on food security, which is achieved "when all people, at all times, have physical, social and economic access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food which meets their dietary needs and food preferences for an active and healthy life" as agreed by FAO member countries at the World Food Summit in 1996.

  • The first Millennium Development Goal set by the international community for the 21st century is to half the proportion of hungry people in the world.
  • Progress was made in reducing chronic hunger in the 1980s and the first half of the 1990s, but hunger has been steadily rising for the past decade.
  • Today, chronic hunger affects over 900 million people worldwide– almost 16 percent of the population in developing countries.
  • The proportion of hungry people is highest in sub-Saharan Africa, at around 30 percent of the population.
  • The region with the overall greatest sheer numbers of hungry people is Asia and the Pacific.
  • Malnutrition is the single largest contributor to disease in the world.
  • In developing countries, almost five million children under the age of five die of malnutrition-related causes every year.
  • More often than not, the face of malnutrition is female.
  • In households which are vulnerable to food insecurity, women are at greater risk of malnutrition than men. 
last updated:  Thursday, June 21, 2012