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Finishing Off Hunger

ROME – At least 842 million people worldwide suffer from chronic hunger – a nearly 1.5% decrease from the 854 million estimated for 2010-2012. Clearly, while some progress has been made, the world still has a long way to go to eradicate under-nutrition.

As world leaders attempt to determine the best way forward, a report published jointly this year by the Food and Agriculture Organization, the International Fund for Agricultural Development, and the World Food Program, can serve as an important resource. “The State of Food Insecurity in the World" (SOFI 2013) provides updated estimates of under-nutrition and progress toward achieving the hunger targets set by the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and the World Food Summit (WFS).

Progress on the MDGs has been uneven. While many countries in the developing world – home to 827 million of the world's undernourished (compared to 838 million in 2010-2012) – have moved toward halving, by 2015, the share of hungry people relative to 1990, the average rate of decline is inadequate to meet the target in the next two years. The more ambitious WFS target of halving the total number of hungry people worldwide is even more distant, with the number of undernourished people having fallen by only 17% since 1990-1992.