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About this report

The state of food insecurity in the world, now in its second edition, reports on global and national efforts to reach the goal set by the 1996 World Food Summit: to reduce by half the number of undernourished people in the world by the year 2015.

The first chapter of this year's report, "Undernourishment around the world", updates last year`s estimate of the prevalence of chronically undernourished people in developing countries and adds prevalence estimates for countries in transition. In addition, it presents an important new dimension to these estimates of undernourishment: the depth of hunger experienced by the undernourished. Other highlights of this year's report include:

"Nutritional status and vulnerability" advances last year's discussion of malnutrition through the use of the body mass index and the study of women's special nutritional needs. It also illustrates cases of food insecurity through an examination of sample diets and the ongoing research into the causes of vulnerability in different livelihood groups.

"Dynamics of change" explores two diverse examples of how progress can be made in reducing food insecurity. These are the impact of agricultural research on higher-yielding cassava varieties in Africa and the dramatic success in reducing malnutrition among children under five years in Thailand.

The state of food insecurity in the world draws on FAO's ongoing work of monitoring the nutritional status of populations worldwide and analysing their degree of food insecurity and vulnerability. This work represents part of FAO's contribution to the Food Insecurity and Vulnerability Information and Mapping System (FIVIMS) initiative, which is being established at the global and national levels.

Food Insecurity and Vulnerability Information and Mapping System

On behalf of members of the Inter-Agency Working Group (IAWG) on FIVIMS, it is my pleasure to associate the IAWG with this second edition of SOFI. This publication represents a substantial contribution to the objectives of FIVIMS, namely, to:

-increase global attention to problems of food insecurity;

-improve data quality and analysis through the development of new tools and capacity building in developing countries;

-promote effective and better directed action aimed at reducing food insecurity and poverty;

-promote donor collaboration on food security information systems at the global and country levels;

-improve access to information through networking and sharing.

Although IAWG-FIVIMS members are a diverse group, we are united by a shared commitment to reduce food insecurity and vulnerability and its multidimensional causes rooted in poverty. Development agencies and countries need solid information on who the food insecure are, where they are located, what their livelihood systems are, and why they are in this situation. With answers to these questions, development partners at all levels can combine their efforts to reduce food insecurity and poverty through better policies and better designed and targeted interventions.

Before the launching of FIVIMS in 1997, IAWG member institutions were already working to improve food security information systems around the world. We still are. Through FIVIMS, we are also increasing efforts within our institutions while reducing duplication and ensuring that our collective work is efficient and complementary. As part of the UN system reform process, we also aim to collaborate more effectively at the country level within the UN Development Assistance Framework. Despite the inevitable institutional challenges, FIVIMS is making significant progress based on solid technical fieldwork enhanced by new computational and communication technologies.

IAWG members congratulate the FAO team on this year's report. And we stand committed to making even more substantial contributions in the future to The state of food insecurity in the world.

Peter Matlon, UNDP, Chair, IAWG- FIVIMS

IAWG-FIVIMS membership

Australian Agency for International Development (AUSAID)
Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA)
European Commission (EC)
German Agency for Technical Cooperation (GTZ)
United States Agency for International Development (USAID)
United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)
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)
Administrative Committee on Coordination/Subcommittee
on Nutrition (ACC/SCN)
International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI)
International Service for National Agricultural Research (ISNAR)
International Centre for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT)
Helen Keller International (HKI)
Save the Children Fund (SCF/UK)
World Resources Institute (WRI)

For more information, see the IAWG-FIVIMS Web site at

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