One in eight people chronically undernourished globally, finds new UN hunger report
9 October 2012 - Almost 870 million people, or one in eight, are suffering from chronic malnutrition, and the vast majority live in developing countries, according to a new United Nations report released today.
The State of Food Insecurity in the World 2012, which was jointly published by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the World Food Programme (WFP), says that the global number of hungry people declined by 132 million between 1990-92 and 2010-12. This puts the first Millennium Development Goal to halve the proportion of hungry people in developing countries by 2015 within reach if adequate, appropriate actions are taken. Since 2007-2008, however, global progress in reducing hunger has slowed and leveled off.
The report finds that as regions have differed in their rates of progress towards reducing hunger, the distribution of where hungry people are concentrated in the developing regions has changed over the past 20 years. The shares of South-Eastern Asia and Eastern Asia in the developing regions’ undernourished people have seen the most marked decline between 1990–92 and 2010–12 (from 13.4 to 7.5 per cent and from 26.1 to 19.2 per cent, respectively), while that of Latin America also declined, from 6.5 to 5.6 per cent. Meanwhile, sub-Saharan Africa saw the sharpest increase in the number of undernourished people from 17 to 27 per cent.
The FAO report says that agricultural growth is particularly effective in reducing hunger and malnutrition. Most of the extreme poor depend on agriculture and related activities for a significant part of their livelihoods. The report suggests that agricultural growth involving smallholders, especially women, will be most effective in reducing extreme poverty and hunger when it increases returns to labor and generates employment for the poor.
Learn more about the report