Food insecurity around the world

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“Those who wish for a more peaceful, just and sustainable world are helping to make ending world hunger a major priority… Together we can end hunger.”

Robert Alan Silverstein

That we, as a global community, could end world hunger is not a naïve notion. No, it is not as far-fetched as it seems, despite the daunting numbers and the amount of time, effort and resources needed to accomplish such a gargantuan task.  As with any challenge of great magnitude, the reasonable approach is (and has been) to compartmentalize the problem into smaller, more manageable components. Since the whole is equal to (not lesser than or greater than ) the sum of its parts,  each “part” (and, by extension, each of the subparts, and sub-subparts) can be (and have been) uniquely addressed.  In this instance, the “parts” refer, of course, to the continents;  the “subparts” are the countries, and “sub-subparts” are the cities, counties or communities.  If it sounds simple enough, experience has taught  us that the real bottleneck lies in the allocation and acquisition of the “time, effort and resources” required to eradicate the problem.  Just how big a problem is it?

The Numbers:

According to The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization:

  • In 2010-2012, estimated that nearly 870 million people throughout the world (that’s one in eight people) suffer from chronic undernourishment and food insecurity.
  • an estimated 852 million live in developing countries; 16 million live in developed countries.
  • Asia and Pacific region: saw a 30% decrease (from 739M to 563M) in the number of undernourished people – due to socio-economic progress. <heatherfromthegrove: I believe that these numbers may increase by next year, as the recession makes its hasty way to Asia>
  • Latin America and the Caribbean:  also saw a decrease, from 65M (1990-92) to 49M hungry (2010-2012).
  • Africa: by sharp contrast, saw a huge increase, from 175M to 239M hungry (one in four people are hungry).
  • In developed countries, the number increased from 13M (2004-6) to 16M (2010-12).

The Causes:

According to The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, there are five (5) principle causes of hunger:

  1. Poverty.
  2. Harmful/unstable economic and political systems.
  3. Conflict (the influx of refugees from unstable, conflict-ridden regimes/countries).
  4. Hunger (hunger causes physical and mental health issues which, in turn, bring on poverty – due to the inability to work or function properly; and this creates greater hunger).
  5. Climate Change (drought, flooding, erratic  climate patterns).

The Solutions:

According to Josette Sheeran, formerly the Executive Director (until her term ended in 2012) of the UN World Food Programme and now the Vice Chairman of the World Economic Forum, there are ten new approaches to eradicating world hunger:

  1. Humanitarian action.
  2. Provide free school meals.
  3. Safety nets (for when disaster strikes or a food crisis occurs).
  4. Connect farmers to markets.
  5. Special focus on providing children under two years old with proper nutrition, to help them develop properly and give them  fighting chance.
  6. Empower women.
  7. Technology is a powerful tool.
  8. Building resiliency… against national disasters.
  9. People power (individuals, partners, organizations, communities)
  10. Accountability (countries’ political leaders make it their mission to ensure that no child (in their country) will die from hunger.

For a more comprehensive understanding of world hunger, please refer to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization’s report, The State of Food Insecurity in the World 2012.

Ending world hunger… an impossible dream, or an attainable reality?

You know where I stand. 

HFH2

From Aug 14-Sept 7, purchase a copy of  Casualties of the (Recession) Depression, and for every $20 book purchased directly from my website, I will be donating $5 from the proceeds of each book sale to either: Feeding America (US), Action Against Hunger (Canada), or The World Food Programme (Global). The purchaser chooses one of the three.

Image via blog.igt.com.

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