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83 posts categorized "Good Governance"
President Obama's full speech on the 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. (Video credit: the White House)
Yesterday, President Obama ascended the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC, to deliver a speech. The speech was given at nearly the exact place and time as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s monumental “I Have a Dream” speech, exactly 50 years later. An irresistable national discussion led up to that moment, comparing the two men and the two Americas of then and now.
Obama acknowledged the determination and resilience of King and his generation, especially those "whose names never appeared in the history books, never got on TV." He thanked them for dreaming big enough to envision, 50 years later, a black president and a more self-aware country that has started its journey toward equality.
The U.S. Census Bureau released a report last week to commemorate the 50th anniversary of King’s speech and celebrate the progress made since 1963. Here are a few examples of that progress:
- The median income of black Americans has nearly doubled.
- The black poverty rate has fallen by 14 percent.
- Twenty-six percent of blacks had high school diplomas in 1964; 85 percent did in 2012.
- The number of black college graduates jumped from 4 percent to 21 percent.
- The proportion of the African American population holding public office has more than tripled.
President Obama is arguably the most visible symbol of all that is to be celebrated. But yesterday he bore the challenge of going beyond one dream fulfilled to face the many deferred.
In many ways, African Americans still live on the margins of American society. Though the black poverty rate has declined, in 2011 it was still 27.6 percent — more than double the white poverty rate. It was even higher among black children — 37.4 percent lived in poverty. Food security (hunger) rates track the poverty numbers closely. And the unemployment rate is just as disturbing; today it is twice as high for blacks as for whites, and—reflecting the nation’s painfully slow recovery from the Great Recession-- even higher now than in 1963.
Not surprisingly, educational outcomes for blacks tell a similar story, with whites nearly twice as likely to graduate from college as blacks. And we know that poverty, hunger, and unemployment are inextricably tied to a student’s educational outcomes.
Rarely mentioned in the recent media coverage is the full name of the March on Washington: The March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom.
As the president acknowledged, it is good jobs that all Americans, blacks especially, need most today to make the climb out of poverty and hunger. President Obama and Congress can do a lot to create jobs through policy. They can invest, first in the American people by providing more accessible high-quality education, and second in national infrastructure that can open opportunities for the private sector to drive economic growth. Yes, all investments demand an upfront cost, but if the investment isn’t made now, the cost to generations of Americans will be far greater. We can do the right thing in a fiscally responsible way.
The president and congress can and must choose to dream even bigger than Dr. King. We have all the policy tools we need to end U.S. poverty and hunger in less than a generation. Will an elementary school student who watches today’s speech on TV be the one to stand at the Lincoln Memorial in 25 years and celebrate such an achievement?
This week, the Chicago Council on Global Affairs introduced a new website, Outrage and Inspire, to serve as a launch pad for the work of Roger Thurow, senior fellow for Global Agriculture and Food Policy. Most recently author of The Last Hunger Season: A Year in an African Farm Community on the Brink of Change, Thurow is a long-time friend of Bread for the World and a true anti-hunger champion. He is a former writer for the Wall Street Journal and a senior fellow at the Chicago Council. The site will follow Thurow as he travels to a range of countries reporting on global hunger, poverty, and food and nutrition security.
For The Last Hunger Season, Thurow followed the lives of four farm families in western Kenya for a year, encompassing the cycle of preparing the land, planting the seeds, suffering through the inevitable “hunger season,” and finally harvesting the crops. He wrote about how the One Acre Fund has helped these smallholder farmers, mostly women, by providing training in essential practices such as obtaining high quality seed, planting in rows, and measuring and using precise micro dosages of fertilizer. Thurow’s book balances the horror of not being able to feed a child with the hope raised by economic empowerment. Changes are under way that just might end “hunger seasons” for good.
In his inaugural Outrage and Inspire post, “Making the Invisible Visible,” Thurow tells the story of a birth in rural India, interspersed with findings from the new Lancet series on maternal and child health. The woman giving birth has access to more modern medical facilities and knowledge about the needs of her newborn daughter than women in her village ever have before, but the research shows that both the mother and daughter can expect to encounter the reality of gender inequality, including unequal access to nutritious food.
The 1,000 Days – the critical window for human nutrition that lasts from pregnancy to a child’s second birthday -- will be the subject of Thurow’s next project and a major focus of the new website. By examining chronic malnutrition and the damage it causes in early childhood, Thurow will contribute to the important conversation on what is being done around the world to combat stunting and malnutrition among children, and what is still needed for communities to be able to prevent stunting and the lifelong damage it causes. In order to solve the problem, Thurow says, we will need “outrage and inspiration.”
Building champions for improving nutrition outcomes around the world is an effective way for advocates to advance the nutrition agenda, especially for improved nutrition in women and children. As we heard at the Bread for the World Institute and Concern Worldwide “Sustaining Political Commitments to Scaling Up Nutrition” meeting June 10, nutrition champions come in many forms. They can be grassroots organizers, Bread for the World members who contact their congressional offices, or people based in Washington, DC, who visit Capitol Hill or push the administration on nutrition policy issues. Internationally, champions may be members of civil society in countries with significant malnutrition. They can hold their governments accountable for funding and policy commitments to make progress against malnutrition.
Champions certainly include people like Thurow, whose commitment to ending hunger is clear through his efforts to “outrage and inspire” others to action. Congratulations to Roger Thurow on his new blog from his many friends in Bread for the World and the nutrition stakeholder community. We recommend it to all who would like to see a nutrition champion in action – and all who are not afraid to be outraged and inspired by examples of victories over food insecurity and malnutrition.
Posted by Scott Bleggi on August 14, 2013 in Africa, Agriculture, Asia, Assets for the Poor, Climate Change, Development Assistance, Economic Development, Food Aid, Food Prices, Foreign Aid Reform, Global Hunger, Good Governance, Hunger Hotspots, Hunger Report, Immigration, Inequality, Malnutrition, Maternal and Child Nutrition, Weblogs | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)
Yesterday, the United States International Development Agency (USAID) announced the release of the most detailed data yet available on the Foreign Assistance Dashboard. USAID has added over 50,000 financial transactions reflecting spending as recent as June 30, 2013.
For the first time, members of the public can now search and visualize expanded, timely information about what, where, how, and with whom USAID programs work. The financial transactions include detailed information across 30 descriptive fields, including vendor, location, award title, descriptions, and more. The addition of USAID’s financial transactions is a significant milestone for U.S. Government foreign assistance transparency. The new USAID data is visualized on the site, can be downloaded in machine-readable format, and is included in the U.S. Government’s data files in the International Aid Transparency Initiative (IATI) format.
The Foreign Assistance Dashboard displays data from the Department of State, USAID, the Millennium Challenge Corporation, the Department of Defense, and the Department of Treasury. The Dashboard continues to expand with the goal of including detailed foreign assistance budget, financial, and program data from all U.S. Government agencies that fund or implement foreign assistance in accordance with the Office of management and budget Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Bulletin 12-01. As new data are added to the Dashboard, the IATI data files will also be updated to reflect these new data.
To understand the information presented in the Foreign Assistance Dashboard, users are encouraged to read the supplementary information under the What You Should Know section of the website.
Posted by Faustine Wabwire on July 31, 2013 in Africa, Agriculture, Asia, Assets for the Poor, Climate Change, Development Assistance, Economic Development, Food Aid, Foreign Aid Reform, Global Hunger, Good Governance, Hunger Report, Immigration, Inequality, Latin America, Millennium Development Goals | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)
A glimpse of worker protests at Union Square in New York City (video credit: Fast Food Forward).
Lines at fast-food drive-throughs across the country just got longer.
Workers from some of the largest U.S. fast-food chains are dropping deep fryers and abandoning cashier stations this week. A series of one-day walkouts are planned by employees of McDonald’s, Wendy’s, Burger King, and KFC in cities across the country including New York City, Chicago, Seattle, Detroit, Milwaukee, St. Louis, Kansas City, and Flint, MI. And employees at retail outlets such as Macy’s, Dollar Tree, and Victoria’s Secret are poised to follow. More and more workers say that they don’t earn enough for them and their families to live on. And many protest stagnant wages – after several years of work, they have never gotten a raise.
The average income of the bottom fifth of U.S. wage-earners fell by nearly 6 percent in the 2000s. In that same period, the earnings of the top tenth rose by 8.6 percent. The Economic Policy Institute estimates that 28 million full-time U.S. workers earned an average annual income of $20,510 —not nearly enough to keep a family of four above the federal poverty line, which is set at a modest $23,550 a year for a family that size. Fast-food workers in many cities have it much worse than that. New York City fast food workers average an annual income of just $11,000.
A coalition of community groups, religious leaders, and national labor unions such as the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) are coordinating the series of strikes. In New York, a representative of Fast Food Forward, one of the leading organizing groups in the city, told CBS New York, "A lot of the workers are living in poverty, you know, not being able to afford to put food on the table or take the train to work… The workers are striking over the fact that they can’t continue to maintain their families on the wages they’re being paid in the fast-food industry."
Fast food is just the latest sector to face worker protests in the past year or so. Manufacturing, government, and retail have experienced repeated strikes by low-wage workers as well. All of the strikers demand the same thing — a livable wage.
The reality of American life is that all too many jobs do not pay enough, do not enable parents to balance work and family responsibilities, and do not allow workers the right to negotiate as a group for better pay or more flexible schedules. So far, federal government policies that try to respond to these problems are doing too little to make a difference. The top earners in the United States make more than the top earners in every other developed country, but our lowest-wage workers are worse off than their peers in all but a few of these countries.
Bread for the World Institute’s 2013 Hunger Report discusses the responsibility of the private sector (fast food included) to pay their workers fairly in order to do their part to reduce poverty. The social contract that links business, families, government, and civil society is the bedrock of our society. But over time, it has been eroded. U.S. government policy must reverse this trend and help labor regain its voice.
Read more about income inequality in the United States in Chapter 4 of the 2013 Hunger Report, Within Reach: Global Development Goals, and keep a look out for the 2014 Hunger Report, coming Thanksgiving 2013!
Twenty percent of federally contracted workers fell below the poverty line and 40 percent earned less than a living wage in 2006.
A new report by the National Employment Law Project (NELP) introduces Americans to some of the individuals behind those numbers; employees contracted by the federal government who live at or near the poverty line -- a situation that not only keeps them from meeting their family’s immediate needs (like food), but leaves no room for the kind of investments (like education) that can lift them out of poverty. The report, titled Taking the Low Road: How the Federal Government Promotes Poverty-Wage Jobs Through its Contracting Practices, draws upon interviews with more than five-hundred contracted workers across the country, and sheds light into the dark corners of the federal government’s low-bid contracting system.
Graph from NELP Report shows growth of federally contracted jobs since 2000.
Nearly half of the federal workforce is hired through contracts—a system that too often leaves its workers earning near minimum wage, without access to basic benefits like healthcare or paid sick-leave. It also makes it much easier for workers to be let-go without notice or explanation. NELP’s collection of stories illustrates the toll this dysfunctional system takes not only on workers and their families, but on the national economy: “By creating hardship for millions of working families in the short term and delaying economic recovery and adding stress to safety net programs in the long term, these shortsighted policies inevitably lead to more government spending -- precisely the result advocates of low-bid contracting were trying to avoid.”
Here’s what some federally contracted workers interviewed by NELP said about their work experiences:
“This wage is not enough to afford food or even to pay for the subway to go to work...I only ask for a good wage and good insurance in return, so that my family can enjoy the fruit of my work. I dream of my eight-year-old son being able to go to college…I want him to work with a computer and not a broom.”
- Nelly Garcia, Janitor at Old Post Office Building in Washington, DC
“Now, I’m over 65 years old, and I guess I feel disheartened most of the time because I can’t get ahead. I do what I can, but mostly now I’m working for the medical insurance.”
-Lucy Johnson, A sewing machine operator in Knoxville who earns the minimum wage after over 25 years at work
“It is very difficult for me and my family. I must pay the rent, buy clothing for the children, and feed them. But my wages are not always enough. I wish that I did not have to depend on government help like Medicaid and food stamps, but without the help we would be homeless or starving.”
-Carmen Cortes, Janitor at Union Station, Washington DC
The 2013 Hunger Report reminds us that the most severe effects of our increasingly skewed labor market fall on low-wage workers in all sectors:
The work low-wage workers do is needed, and always will be: janitors, food-service workers, landscapers, farm workers, and others. And the people who have these jobs will, of course, always need to earn a living. Thus, one essential response is to ensure that all jobs pay enough to keep employees above the poverty line. Government must do more to counter the downward pressure on wages. Secondly, human-capital development must be strengthened so that even if some jobs are dead-end jobs, no one is trapped in them for lack of alternatives.
The federal government must be a model good employer for the rest of the country. When it chooses to put its people first and uphold decent wage and work standards, it motivates public and private sector employers to do the same and encourages the kind of human capital investment that strengthens our economy and reduces poverty and hunger.
To read more about the relationship between labor standards and poverty and hunger, check out Chapter 4 of the 2013 Hunger Report, Within Reach: Global Development Goals.
Transparency in foreign aid is necessary so that both taxpayers in the donor country and nongovernmental organizations and citizens in the partner country are able to hold their governments accountable for how it’s used. Taxpayers deserve to know how their tax dollars are spent and what results they are achieving. And residents of the countries that receive aid should be able to tell what the aid is for and where it’s going.
Taking all opportunities to improve transparency and coordination is therefore important to ensure that scarce foreign assistance resources are used efficiently to make as much progress as possible against hunger and poverty.
In recent years, the U.S. government has started several new initiatives to improve the transparency and accountability of development assistance. In December 2010, the Obama administration launched the Foreign Assistance Dashboard as a “one-stop shop” to find data on all U.S. foreign aid spending.
The Foreign Assistance Dashboard was created to put into practice the principles of both the Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness and President Obama’s Open Government Initiative. The administration issued guidance on when and how agencies should report information on the website. These are steps in the right direction, but more can be done.
Part of President Obama's Open Government Inititiative: The newly launched data.gov, a one stop-shop for government and private sector information, including development data (screenshot).
Another initiative, on program evaluation, is off to a good start since both the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) have new evaluation policies. There are no standards on monitoring and evaluation for more than 20 other agencies that deliver U.S. foreign assistance. But help is on the way.
Last week, the Foreign Aid Transparency and Accountability Act, H.R. 2638, was introduced in the House with broad bipartisan support. The bill seeks to establish interagency monitoring and evaluation guidelines for U.S. development assistance programs and to centralize public access to subsequent data and reports.
H.R. 2638 directs the president to establish goals and performance and evaluation guidelines for U.S. foreign assistance programs, country assistance plans, and international and multilateral assistance programs. The administration should also establish a website to make publicly available information on U.S. foreign assistance programs.
The introduction of this bill with bipartisan support is a sign that the executive branch and Congress can establish a constructive partnership on aid reform. It would ensure that best practices in monitoring and evaluation for development results are adopted more broadly and that the administration continues to add new information to the Foreign Assistance Dashboard website, which has already provided an unprecedented level of transparency on U.S. foreign assistance.
Highlights from Malala Yousafzai's words at the U.N. headquarters in New York last Friday. See the whole speech here.
The United Nations declared last Friday “Malala Day” in honor of Malala Yousafzai, a Pakistani student and education advocate who was shot in the head by a Taliban operative last October for what the terrorist organization called “promoting Western thinking.” Malala began promulgating her views on education for girls and sharing stories from her life under Taliban rule at the age of 11 via a BBC blog. After she recovered from the shooting, Malala has emerged an even stronger and more articulate representative of the global movement for girls’ education. On Friday, July 12 -- her 16th birthday -- she made an emphatic appeal (view highlights above) to the United Nations General Assembly, urging member states to redouble their commitments to equal education and challenging other advocates to “pick up [their] books and pens” in peaceful protest.
U.N. Special Envoy for Global Education and former U.K. Prime Minister Gordon Brown recently launched a U.N. petition in Yousafzai’s name, using the slogan "I am Malala" to galvanize momentum toward the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) of universal primary education by the end of 2015.
Improvements in education and progress against hunger are closely correlated. It seems obvious that students with consistent access to nutritious food will go further in their education – and research suggests that the benefits flow the other direction as well. Analysts at the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) looked back at the years 1970-1995, a period of significant reductions in child malnutrition. What made this progress possible? A larger supply of food available per person seems like a good explanation, and this was in fact something that helped. But the IFPRI analysis found that it was responsible for only about 26 percent of the improvement. Gains in women’s education explained 43 percent of it.
Sending girls to school was more effective in reducing child malnutrition than having more food available. Why? It’s largely because worldwide, women carry the major responsibility for providing for their families. Conditions that interfere with women’s ability to earn a living – such as lack of education -- contribute directly to hunger and disease among their children, both boys and girls.
According to the latest MDG progress chart, most of the world is not on track to meet the education goal. Malala and other advocates for girls’ education across the world know this. They realize that despite their best efforts, advancement will depend on the commitment of national governments to making it a top priority and on unwavering advocacy from the international community.
Let's renew our commitment to bringing change to the lives of the estimated 35 million girls of primary school age who still do not attend school. Their futures, and their children's futures, and in many ways their countries' futures, depend on getting into a classroom.
You can read more about the relationship between women’s education, ending hunger, and achieving the other MDGs in the 2013 Hunger Report, Within Reach: Global Development Goals.
On June 11 -- the day after Sustaining Political Commitments to Scaling Up Nutrition, organized by Bread for the World Institute and Concern Worldwide -- the Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) Civil Society Network held its inaugural meeting. Having heard from government officials, nutrition experts, and fellow SUN country representatives about how sustained political commitments can lead to improved nutrition outcomes, civil society representatives gathered to share best practices and discuss individual country challenges to scaling up nutrition programs and policies.
By identifying and agreeing on key priorities for action, such as advocacy, the 66 representatives were able to begin developing effective strategies to help each other build capacity and maximize available resources in the fight against malnutrition. The Civil Society Network, like the rest of SUN, focuses on nutrition for pregnant women and children in the 1,000-day “window” between pregnancy and age 2. The civil society representatives came from organizations ranging from women’s rights groups and research entities to humanitarian aid agencies and trade unions.
This meeting addressed the critical need for cooperation and collaboration in efforts to truly improve nutrition by scaling up actions that are now available and known to be effective. With the active encouragement and participation of Bread for the World and many other international nutrition stakeholders, the Civil Society Network will advance SUN’s mission by coordinating efforts with national governments, donors, and UN agencies to maximize the impact of programs and encourage best nutrition practices. The network’s efforts are particularly important now, with about 1,000 days remaining before the December 2015 deadline to reach the Millennium Development Goals.
The importance of organizing Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) for more effective communication and cooperation must not be overlooked. The Civil Society Network facilitates these collaboration efforts across countries. For example, recently in Zambia, Bangladesh, Tanzania, and Nepal, CSO alliances worked with other SUN entities in their countries to organize roundtable discussions, public rallies, and other events aimed at bringing attention to hunger and malnutrition and calling on government officials to elevate these issues to the top of the national agenda.
At this inaugural meeting of the SUN Civil Society Network, CSOs affirmed their commitment to come together to align policies, speak with one voice, and work together to support, encourage, and mobilize the robust action and resources necessary to scale up nutrition.
Now that the SUN Civil Society Network is officially organized and its members have had some opportunities to talk with nutrition advocates from other countries, the network can begin to assist countries in developing individual plans to improve maternal and child nutrition. When countries in the network begin to interact with development assistance organizations working on nutrition programs, providing information based on their own experiences, it will be a great example of “country-led development.”
Posted by Scott Bleggi on July 10, 2013 in Africa, Agriculture, Asia, Development Assistance, Economic Development, Food Aid, Foreign Aid Reform, Global Hunger, Good Governance, Latin America, Malnutrition, Maternal and Child Nutrition, Millennium Development Goals, Weblogs | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)
Indian women and children bundle stalks of grain, which would become more affordable and accessible under the National Food Security Bill. (Photo Credit: Margaret W. Nea)
Last week, President Pranab Mukherjee of India issued an executive order to keep a longstanding promise: the poorest two-thirds of India’s population, 800 million people, will be guaranteed access to low-price grains. India’s new National Food Security Ordinance, if ratified by Parliament, will be the world’s largest social protection system -- much needed since nearly half of India’s children are undernourished.
Every month, each eligible person -- primarily residents of rural area -- will be entitled to purchase a package with 15 kilograms (about 33 pounds) of rice, wheat, and millet for the equivalent of 12 cents.
India is the world’s second-largest food producer and already grows more than enough to feed its population. However, the country lacks sufficient storage and adequate distribution infrastructure to move its crops to where they’re needed, when they’re needed. An estimated 30 percent to 40 percent of all crops grown spoils before it can reach consumers. Both of these factors drive up prices, making adequate food unaffordable for much of the population. And as in other parts of the world, the single greatest cause of continued hunger is widespread poverty and inequality.
Critics of the new food security ordinance argue that the national government is not capable of implementing such an extensive program; they speculate that the only reason Mukherjee signed the ordinance is to win last-minute political points ahead of the national elections scheduled for 2014. There is reason for skepticism; the Indian government has a corruption-tainted history of failed poverty reduction programs that stretches back over several presidential administrations.But supporters say that solutions, even if imperfect, cannot be put off: the country’s malnutrition problem is simply too widespread and urgent. Even if we set aside for the moment the immediate costs in human lives and health malnutrition is a problem India cannot afford. A recent report by Save the Children found that by 2030, malnutrition will have cost the world $125 billion in lost productivity—including nearly $46 billion for India alone.
The 2013 Hunger Report assesses India’s lagging progress in combatting hunger, compared to countries whose economies are developing in similar ways. India is the only country among the middle-income BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa) that has not significantly reduced its rate of hunger since 2000. India’s lack of progress poses a serious threat to the world’s chances of achieving the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) target of cutting extreme global hunger in half by the end of 2015. Hunger and poverty in India already weigh heavily in global statistics, and India’s impact on global statistics will only increase as it overtakes China to become the most populous country in the world.
MDGs aside, social protection programs such as the National Food Security Ordinance make key investments in future generations that can pay off later in higher national productivity and a more capable workforce. Research shows that every dollar invested in proper nutrition -- particularly in proven and cost-effective interventions designed to prevent malnutrition among pregnant women and children in the 1,000-day window between pregnancy and age 2 -- can generate as much as $138 in better health and increased productivity for a national economy.
India is financing its own poverty reduction programs, and it can afford to. The new food security ordinance, though worthy of skepticism, is an opportunity for the country to make food security possible for a huge number of people at risk of hunger. It’s on a globally game-changing scale. If this initiative succeeds, the payoffs would be enormous. That’s why it must be accompanied by an unwavering commitment to transparency and the increased investment in the infrastructure that will make it possible.
To learn more about reducing hunger and malnutrition in India, see chapter 3 of the 2013 Hunger Report, Within Reach: Global Development Goals.
Posted by Bread on July 08, 2013 in Agriculture, Asia, Assets for the Poor, Development Assistance, Economic Development, Food Aid, Food Prices, Global Hunger, Good Governance, Hunger Hotspots, Hunger Report, Malnutrition, Maternal and Child Nutrition, Millennium Development Goals, Trade, Weblogs | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)
Chart from 2013 MDGs Report reveals that the hunger reduction target is within reach if recent slowdowns in progress can be reversed. (Image Credit: UNDP)
Today in Geneva, Switzerland, the U.N. Development Programme (UNDP) released its most recent update on the world’s progress toward the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) targets—the 2013 Millennium Development Goals Report. The eight MDGs, set in 2000, have led an ambitious global effort to improve the lives of the world’s poorest and most vulnerable people by 2015. With 912 days left (by our watch) to meet the MDGs, the report comes at a crucial time.
The most pronounced victories in the report are that the MDG targets on halving the proportion of people in extreme poverty and increasing access to clean water have been met. These accomplishments are heartening, though we've known about them for a while now. The fulfillment of the poverty goal was already announced last year by the World Bank, based on data from 2010.
Arguably the real news from this year's report is that the world has advanced further than previously thought on cutting in half the proportion of people who are undernourished. Even one year ago, many were doubtful that the goal could be met, particularly because of the setbacks brought on by the global economic downturn and the resulting food price crisis of 2008, believed to have pushed the number of hungry people over 1 billion for the first time.
But according to the U.N.’s latest numbers, we’re closer than we thought. While hunger remains disturbingly common, the proportion of undernourished people has decreased from 23.2 percent of the total population in 1990–1992 to 14.9 percent in 2010–2012. This suggests that progress in reducing hunger has been more pronounced than previously believed.
In the 2013 Hunger Report, Within Reach: Global Development Goals, published in late 2012, we at Bread for the World Institute expressed concern about the world’s ability to realistically meet the hunger goal:
At this point, it is not clear whether the hunger target of the MDGs will be met by the 2015 deadline. Too little attention has been paid to the interrelationship between hunger and poverty, particularly in rural areas where most of the world’s hungry and poor people live…Since the MDGs were adopted, both developing country governments and aid donors have increased their investments in agriculture and rural development—but not soon enough and not by enough to accelerate reductions in hunger.
The hunger goal’s prospects look better today than they did a year ago, but the concerns raised last year remain valid. Just as with progrss on poverty, progress on hunger has not been equally shared across geographic regions. Rates of undernutrition in East Asia and Latin America continue to fall rapidly, while those of South Asia, the Caribbean, and sub-Saharan Africa — rural areas in particular — remain stubbornly inflated. Sustained, targeted investments in rural development by donor countries, such as the Obama administration’s recently evaluated Feed the Future initiative, will be needed. Reaching the often-overlooked MDG 8, which stresses the establishment of true global partnerships for development, will only grow more crucial as the world stretches to reach the hunger target by 2015.
To read more on the history hunger and poverty goal and the seven other MDGs, visit www.hungerreport.org.
Posted by Bread on July 01, 2013 in Africa, Agriculture, Asia, Assets for the Poor, Development Assistance, Economic Development, Food Aid, Food Prices, Foreign Aid Reform, Global Hunger, Good Governance, Hunger Hotspots, Hunger Report, Inequality, Latin America, Malnutrition, Maternal and Child Nutrition, Millennium Development Goals, Trade, U.S. Hunger | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)
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