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New hunger report released: world hunger falls to under 800 million, eradication is next goal

05 26 fao food Photo: FAO/Seyllou Diallo

28 May 2015 – The 2015 edition of the The State of Food Insecurity in the World Report has been released, highlighting that the number of hungry has been reduced by nearly 100 million fewer than in 2012.

The report is a collaboration between the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the World Food Programme (WFP).

According to the report, the number of hungry people in the world has dropped to 795 million – 216 million fewer than in 1990-92 – or around one person out of every nine.

Status on the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) target

A majority – 72 out of 129 – of the countries monitored by FAO have achieved the MDG-1C target of halving the prevalence of undernourishment by 2015. Developing regions as a whole are missing the target by a small margin.

Undernourishment means that a person is not able to acquire enough food to meet the daily minimum dietary energy requirements, over a period of one year. FAO defines hunger as being synonymous with chronic undernourishment.

In addition, 29 countries have met the more ambitious goal laid out at the World Food Summit (WFS) in 1996, when governments committed to halving the absolute number of undernourished people by 2015.

FAO Director General José Graziano da Silva said, “The near-achievement of the MDG hunger targets shows us that we can indeed eliminate the scourge of hunger in our lifetime.”

He continued, “We must be the Zero Hunger generation. That goal should be mainstreamed into all policy interventions and at the heart of the new sustainable development agenda to be established this year.”

Noting the advances made, especially seeing the considerable challenges

Contextualizing the advances made in tackling hunger, the FAO states that progress towards the 2015 target was hampered by global economic conditions, extreme weather events, natural disasters, political instability and civil strife.

This is exemplified by around one in every five of the world's undernourished living in crisis environments characterized by weak governance and acute vulnerability to death and disease.

Alongside these challenges, the world population has grown by 1.9 billion since 1990, making reductions of the number of hungry people all the more striking, the report says.

Selected key conclusions

The report also indicates that:

  • Economic growth is a key success factor for reducing undernourishment, but it has to be inclusive and provide opportunities for improving the livelihoods of the poor.
  • Social protection systems have been critical in fostering progress towards the MDG 1 hunger and poverty targets in a number of developing countries. This includes cash transfers to vulnerable households, but also food vouchers, health insurance or school meal programs, perhaps linked to guaranteed procurement contracts with local farmers.

More information

To discover more about the state of food insecurity in the world, consult the FAO Hunger Map 2015 or read the full report.

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