Hunger, malnutrition rolling back global food security gains

Written By: Judith Akolo
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Hunger, malnutrition rolling back global food security gains
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Rising levels of global hunger is jeopardizing efforts aimed at ending malnutrition in all its forms by 2030.

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the are warning that hunger and obesity are on the rise further compounding issues of food security.

FAO and IFPRI have launched a global conference aimed at urgently accelerating efforts to achieve Zero Hunger worldwide and are encouraging nations to accelerate efforts to help wipe out hunger and malnutrition

According to the latest report published jointly by FAO and four other UN agencies, about 820 million people on the planet are malnourished.

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“This is the third consecutive year that progress in ending hunger has stalled and now has actually increased (in 2015, 2016 and 2017),” said FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva in a video message to the conference and added, “Child stunting is a major problem and nearly two billion still suffer from hidden hunger or a deficiency of important nutrients. This also includes people who are overweight or obese.”

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Pointing out that the number of hungry and malnourished people in the world has gone back up to levels last seen ten years ago, da Silva added that, “After decades of gains in fighting hunger, this is a serious setback and FAO and the UN sister agencies, together with member governments and other partners, are all very concerned.”

Noting that the goal towards zero hunger is still achievable, IFPRI Director General   Shenggen Fan, said the current pace is much too slow to achieve meaningful results.

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“After many years of tremendous global progress in reducing hunger and malnutrition, it is painfully clear that our current pace is not sufficient to end hunger by 2030, but we can still achieve this goal,” said Shenggen Fan, IFPRI Director General.

At the conference in Bangkok, Thailand which has attracted delegates primarily from Africa and Asia is providing a platform to accelerate the sharing of existing specialty knowledge, approaches and tools that have led to success in many countries so others can learn, adapt and accelerate their own work to reduce hunger and malnutrition in sustainable ways.

FAO estimates that while Africa continues to be the hungriest continent per capita, the Asia-Pacific region has the highest total number of undernourished people about 500 million.

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Experts argue that the rise in global hunger is witnessed alongside an increase in obesity, which brings with it an entirely different set of health and economic challenges for the world now and in the future.

They are now calling on nations to leverage good public policy and knowledge to accelerate the pace towards Zero Hunger

African countries led by Ethiopia have invested in large-scale agriculture and the production of cereals and the availability of food, while the creation of the Productive Safety Net Programme provides food and/or cash to needy households, which are direct for the most needy and conditional on a work requirement for others.

The IFPRI-FAO Conference on Accelerating the End of Hunger and Malnutrition, is taking place in Bangkok and runs 28-30 November, 2018.

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