One in Eight of World Population is Chronically Undernourished: UN

October 9, 2012Marketsby EW News Desk Team

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The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation said today that efforts made to reduce hunger have slowed since 2007/08, with nearly 870 million people, or one in eight, suffering from undernourishment in 2010 – 2012.

In its latest report, State of Food Insecurity in the World 2012, the UN FAO estimated that 868 million people were suffering from hunger in 2010 – 2012, or about 12.5 percent of the world’s total population.

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In 2009, the UN had made the headline-grabbing announcement that 1 billion people in the world were hungry.

A high-level summit was then called at the FAO headquarters in Rome and the UN chief went on a daylong hunger strike to show solidarity with the 1 billion. The Group of Eight also devoted much of its summit that year to pledging $20 billion for seeds, fertilizers and tools to help poor nations feed themselves.

Acknowledging the miscalculation, the FAO blames flawed methodology and poor data for the bum projection, and said it now uses a more accurate set of parameters and statistics to calculate its annual estimate of the world’s hungry.

However, 868 million hungry people is still far too many hungry people, said the heads of the three U.N. food agencies in a forward to the report.

" In today's world of unprecedented technical and economic opportunities, we find it entirely unacceptable that more than 100 million children under five are underweight, and therefore unable to realize their full human and socio-economic potential, and that childhood malnutrition is a cause of death for more than 2.5 million children every year," they wrote.

Among the regions, undernourishment in the past two decades decreased nearly 30 percent in Asia and the Pacific, from 739 million to 563 million, largely due to socio-economic progress in many countries in the region. Despite population growth, the prevalence of undernourishment in the region decreased from 23.7 percent to 13.9 percent.

Africa was the only region where the number of hungry grew over the period, from 175 million to 239 million, with nearly 20 million added in the past four years.

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Appealing to the international community to make extra efforts to assist the poorest in realising their basic human right to adequate food, they added:

We note with particular concern that the recovery of the world economy from the recent global financial crisis remains fragile ... The world has the knowledge and the means to eliminate all forms of food insecurity and malnutrition.

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