Dean Rohrer

The End of Hunger and Malnutrition

The UN Food and Agricultural Organization has decided that its goal will no longer be merely to reduce hunger, but rather to eradicate hunger, food insecurity, and malnutrition altogether. Achieving it will be a formidable challenge, though not as daunting as it seems.

ROME – Sometimes something happens that can have a fundamental impact on mankind, but passes largely unnoticed at the time. Such an event occurred in December in Rome. The Council of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization decided that the FAO’s goal should no longer be merely to reduce hunger, but to eradicate hunger, food insecurity, and malnutrition. The next step will be to confirm this change in June 2013 at the FAO Conference, in which all FAO member countries participate.

To many, this small change of wording must seem trivial. Critics will also say that adopting such a goal without setting a target date for achieving it is largely meaningless. Others may claim that even the idea of eradicating hunger is nonsense, because we lack the means to do it.

For the last 12 years, the Millennium Development Goal of halving hunger by 2015 has been the driving force for hunger reduction. The proportion of hungry people in developing countries has declined significantly – from 23.2% in 1990-92 to 14.9% today. However, this decrease owes more to a rise in the world’s population than it does to the slight reduction in the actual number of hungry people (from about 980 million to 852 million today).

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