GLOBAL HUNGER IS ON THE RISE AGAIN: DOES ANYONE CARE?

Impakter magazine just published my latest article - I wrote this while attending the CFS (Committee on World Food Security) that runs from 9 to 13 October: It's the biggest UN meeting on food issues, opened to the private sector and civil society - the latter totaling some 380 million people, farmers, women, youth, consumers - who are given a chance to bypass their own government and make their voice directly heard at the UN! In fact, no other UN meeting compares with the CFS and what they are discussing this week really does matter...

Here's the beginning of the article:



GLOBAL HUNGER IS ON THE RISE AGAIN: DOES ANYONE CARE?

When the Committee on World Food Security (CFS) opened its 44th session in Rome on October 9, it wasn’t just another chatty UN meeting. It came with the disturbing news that global hunger was on the rise again. This was a shock. Since 2000, we had all grown complacent, every year brought the good news that hunger was slowing even though world population continued to grow, it looked like the scourge of famine was at last a thing of the past.  From a high 926 million in 2005, global hunger hit a low of 777 million people in 2014.

Hunger: 815 million people were affected in 2016 – up from 777 million in 2014

But now we need to revise this cheerful view. According to the best estimates of five major UN agencies, FAO, World Food Programme, IFAD, UNICEF and World Health Organization, the trend has reversed, 815 million people were affected in 2016, slightly more than one in ten persons, as reported in the newly released UN document “The State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World”.



FIGURE 1: THE NUMBER OF UNDERNOURISHED PEOPLE HAS BEEN ON THE RISE SINCE 2014, REACHING AN ESTIMATED 815 MILLION IN 2016. CREDIT: FAO-CFS

Undernourishment and malnutrition is clearly on the rise again. Worse, for the first time this century, outright famine was declared in South Sudan on 20 February 2017, and three more countries, Yemen, Somalia and Northern Nigeria are at serious risk, unless international aid comes to the rescue.

Unfortunately, the usual delays caused by donor fatigue have been recently compounded by the fear that the United States might choose to withdraw from the international community, with Donald Trump announcing plans in March to slash the US foreign aid budget by 31 percent. This would directly hit UN agencies, the World Bank and other international institutions, in particular WFP as it proposed to eliminate most US international food assistance.

Read the rest on Impakter, click here. Besides the threat of famine and what to do about it, other issues are also discussed, like obesity.
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