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"Eradication" of Hunger Is Now FAO's Top Goal
Tammanna Akter and her child Joy, 18 months, pose for photographs in Char Baria village, Barisal, Bangladesh. Photo by Laura Elizabeth Pohl/Bread for the World.
Meeting in Rome, the governing council of the U.N. Food andAgriculture Organization (FAO) expanded its first global goal -- from merely reducing hunger, to eradicating it.
"This unequivocal commitment sets our sights where they should be," said FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva. "We cannot accept anything less than the eradication of hunger, food insecurity, and malnutrition."
Bread for the World Institute's 2013 Hunger Report, Within Reach – Global Development Goals, also calls for the eradication of hunger and extreme poverty. The report argues that setting a goal and a deadline will help make this happen, just as the U.N. Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) are helping the world make significant progress on hunger, extreme poverty, child mortality, and other MDG targets.
Why this timeframe? Just 50 years ago, one person in three around the world was malnourished. Now, hunger affects one person in six. There is certainly more work to do when one-sixth of the global population is hungry. But it’s a big improvement over a time — still in living memory — when twice as many people were hungry.
The dramatic reductions in global hunger and extreme poverty over the past two generations prove that — now, if not in the past — it is well within human capabilities for us to end mass hunger and extreme poverty within a generation. One of several important results: the deaths from malnutrition of hundreds of thousands of young children every year will become not just “preventable,” but prevented.
As Todd Post, senior editor of the Hunger Report, pointed out when the report was released on November 19, "We don’t have to spend trillions of dollars or wait for scientific breakthroughs that have eluded us. The tools are already available, but we have to be willing to deploy them. Mostly it depends on a concerted and sustained push by government leaders and civil society organizations working together."FAO -- which works in more than 130 countries to help people build food security -- also calls for collaborative efforts to eradicate hunger.
"No government or organization alone can overcome hunger. It is a goal that needs to be embraced by all. Civil society organizations, the private sector and other actors have important roles to play in our quest for a hunger-free sustainable world," said Graziano da Silva.Michele Learner is associate editor for Bread for the World Institute.
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