World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search

 

Minimal Investments Can Reduce Chronic Hunger

Minimal Investments Can Boost Efforts To Reduce Chronic Hunger Worldwide, UN Agency Says

Efforts to reduce chronic hunger in developing countries are not on track to meet the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) of halving the number of starving people worldwide by 2015 but that target can still be attained with minimal costs relative to the benefits gained, according to a new United Nations report released today.

With the number of hungry people rising to 852 million in the 2000-2002 period, up by 18 million from the mid-1990s, the human and economic costs of hunger will only increase if the trend is not reversed, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) says in its annual hunger report, The State of Food Insecurity in the World 2004.

“It is possible that the international community has not fully grasped the economic bounce they would get from investments in hunger reduction,” FAO’s Assistant Director-General Hartwig de Haen said. “Enough is known about how to end hunger and now is the time to capture the momentum toward that goal. It is a matter of political will and prioritization.”

More than 30 developing countries have already shown that progress is possible towards meeting the MDG through agricultural and rural development, the report notes.

Hunger and malnutrition kill more than 5 million children every year and cost developing countries billions of dollars in lost productivity, yet the resources needed to effectively prevent this human and economic tragedy are minuscule when compared to the benefits, according to the report.

Without the direct costs of dealing with the damage caused by hunger, more funds would be available to combat other social problems. “A very rough estimate suggests that these direct costs add up to around $30 billion per year – over five times the amount committed so far to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria,” it says.

In addition, there are the indirect costs of lost productivity and income. For example, tolerating the current levels of child malnutrition will result in productivity and income losses over their lifetimes of between $500 billion to $1 trillion at present value.

Yet every dollar invested in reducing hunger can yield from five to over 20 times as much in benefits, it stresses.

“More than 30 countries, representing nearly half the population of the developing world, provide proof that rapid progress is possible as well as lessons in how that progress can be achieved,” the report says. These countries – including Brazil, China, Haiti, Indonesia, Jamaica, Nigeria, Syria and Viet Nam – have reduced the percentage of hungry people by at least 25 per cent during the 1990s.

SOFI 2004 points to “ample evidence” that rapid progress can be made by applying a twin-track strategy attacking both the causes and consequences of extreme poverty and hunger. Track one includes interventions to improve food availability and incomes for the poor by enhancing their productive activities. Track two features targeted programmes that give the most needy families direct and immediate access to food.

The report recommends that countries adopt large-scale programmes to promote primarily agriculture and rural development on which the majority of the poor and hungry depend for their livelihoods.

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
World Headlines

 

Gordon Campbell: Zimbabwe - Meet The New Bosses

At 75, Mnangagwa is not exactly what you’d call a new broom. As many observers have pointed out, his track record has been one of unswerving dedication to Mugabe ever since the days of anti-colonial insurgency... To these guys, things had to change in Zimbabwe, so that things could remain the same. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: Is This Guy The World’s Most Dangerous Thirtysomething?

Saudi Arabia has long been regarded as a pillar of stability in the Middle East, and is the essential caterer to the West’s fossil fuel needs. It is also the country that gave us Osama Bin Laden, al Qaeda, and 15 of the 19 terrorists who carried out the 9/11 attacks... More>>

ALSO:

Non-Binding Postal Vote: Australia Says Yes To Same Sex Marriage

Binoy Kampmark: Out of 150 federal seats, 133 registered affirmative totals in returning their response to the question “Should the law be changed to allow same-sex couples to marry?”. More>>

ALSO:

Bonn Climate Change Conference: Protecting Health In Small Island States

The vision is that, by 2030, all Small Island Developing States will have health systems that are resilient to climate change and countries around the world will be reducing their carbon emissions both to protect the most vulnerable from climate risks and deliver large health benefits in carbon-emitting countries. More>>

ALSO: