World hunger continues to fall

By Caroline SCOTT-THOMAS contact

- Last updated on GMT

There are more undernourished people in the Asia-Pacific region than anywhere else in the world, with more than 490m people still suffering from chronic hunger
There are more undernourished people in the Asia-Pacific region than anywhere else in the world, with more than 490m people still suffering from chronic hunger

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The number of hungry people in the world has fallen again this year to 795 million – 10m fewer than last year and 216m fewer than in 1990-92 – according to FAO figures.

In its latest State of Food Insecurity in the World​ report, the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) says that a majority of the countries it monitors (72 out of 129) achieved the Millennium Development Goal to halve undernourishment by 2015. The proportion of people in the world who have too little food to live an active and healthy life has fallen to 12.9% from 23.3% a quarter of a century ago.

The FAO says the next target is complete eradication of hunger.

"The near-achievement of the MDG hunger targets shows us that we can indeed eliminate the scourge of hunger in our lifetime,”​ said FAO director general José Graziano da Silva. “We must be the Zero Hunger generation. That goal should be mainstreamed into all policy interventions and at the heart of the new sustainable development agenda to be established this year.”

Latin America and the Caribbean was the first region to hit the Millennium Development Goals on undernourishment, more than halving both the number and percentage of hungry people in the region since 1990-92. The proportion of hungry people in the region declined from 14.7% to 5.5% in the period, while the number reduced to 34.3m.

The Asia-Pacific region has also reached its goal of halving the number and proportion of undernourished, although some parts of the region have been more successful than others, the FAO said. There are more undernourished people in the Asia-Pacific region than in any other part of the world, with 490m people in Asia and the Pacific still suffering from chronic hunger.

“Unfortunately, South Asia has not managed to achieve the same level of success as East Asia and South-East Asia – the two subregions that achieved the greatest proportional drop in undernourished,”​ said FAO assistant director-general and regional representative Hiroyuki Konuma. “And while overall the Asia-Pacific region achieved the largest reduction in the absolute number of undernourished people in the world – some 236 million people – this was not sufficient to meet the additional target set by the 1996 World Food Summit (WFS) to reduce the absolute numbers by half.”

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