Developing strategies to end hunger

Upcoming Hunger Report on MDGs

Every year, Bread for the World Institute produces an annual report on the state of world hunger. The Hunger Report comes out the week of Thanksgiving – this year, the 2013 edition will be launched Monday, November 19. Below I’ll explain how you can get a seat.

Within Reach – Global Development Goals is the title of the 2013 report. It’s partly about meeting the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) targets and partly about setting the next round of global development goals once the MDGs expire at the end of 2015.

Bread for the World, not surprisingly, puts particular emphasis on MDG 1, cutting hunger and poverty in half. According to the World Bank, we’ve already met the poverty target, and new analysis by the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) indicates we’re much closer to meeting the hunger target than perhaps many people realized. We blogged about this progress we’re making on hunger just a couple of weeks ago.

Now is not the time for apathy – not for government policymakers or for civil society. With a strong push, we can reach the hunger target by 2015. The 2013 Hunger Report refocuses our attention on meeting the hunger goal and shows how to get the job done.  

Here’s a chart that shows how close we are to meeting the MDG hunger target. The chart is from the latest edition of FAO’s annual report on the State of Food Insecurity in the World. Tracking begins in 1990 because that is the baseline for measuring progress on the MDGs. 


After 2015, a new global development framework, with new goals, will almost certainly succeed the MDGs. Over the next three years, designers of the new framework will be wrestling with what those goals should be. In the Hunger Report, the Institute wades into this debate.

Agendas are already proliferating. Security, sustainability, rights, resilience – these are just a few of the agendas calling out for attention in a post-2015 framework.

Given the progress we’ve made over the last 25 years, there’s good reason to believe that ending hunger and poverty are within reach. It’s not surprising, then, that we at Bread for the World and the Institute think the next set of goals should maintain a strong focus on poverty and hunger. Our bottom line: hunger and poverty cannot be relegated to the background in favor of other issues. 

As important as what the next set of goals look like is who decides on them.  Heads of state will seal the deal by signing onto these goals, as they did with the MDGs, but civil society needs to be involved to ensure that decision-making is a transparent process. Surely no one understands poverty better than poor people – but poverty doesn’t allow people a lot of leisure time to participate in heady discussions about global development goals. Frankly, it probably seems a lot less urgent than concerns such as trying to survive the hungry season. Thus, the best way to ensure the concerns of poor people get sufficient attention in the process of setting the new goals will be through their partners in civil society groups that represent poor people.

The MDGs did not come about through an inclusive process — instead, the heads of rich countries told poor countries what the MDGs would be. In 2000, partnerships between rich and poor countries were still largely dictated by the rich. Aid recipients got what donors wanted to give. Today, it is a different world where development is treated more like a real partnership. It’s not a perfect partnership by any stretch, but developing countries have more say over how to use donor aid. The next set of global development goals should be developed with rich and poor countries working together as partners.

You’ll hear plenty more about the Hunger Report in the coming weeks before the launch, which will be held at the National Press Club in Washington, DC, on November 19 at 9:00 a.m. RSVP to Cheryle Adams at the Institute if you want a seat. Hope to see you there.



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