UN reports show economic growth and agriculture, including the empowerment of women, has decreased the percentage of people suffering from hunger in 2015.
Despite political instability and natural disasters that have occurred throughout the developing world, and the food insecurities that stemmed from it, Goal 1 of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) was achieved five years ahead of its deadline. It was estimated in 2010 that 21% of citizens living in developing countries lived at or below $1.25USD per day, which was a drastic cut compared to the 52% of people only three decades earlier. Even though the MDG milestone has not been met in a large majority of South Africa and Asia, many international organizations, world leaders, and economists believe halving the percentage of chronically undernourished people could still be possible by the end of the year.
The Fight for Fullness
UN organizations have agreed that economic growth and more productive agricultural programs are main causes for the great improvement in global food security levels, “growth is a key factor, as well as improved productivity of small farmers is important.” The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) also helped to reduce the amount of stunting in children under the age of five in 2012 to only a quarter of the 40% that was reported in 1990. Stunting results in an inadequate height for the age of child due to malnutrition.
The International Development Association (IDA) committed $22.2 billion, an all time record, in 2014 to increase shared prosperity and fight extreme poverty in developing regions, as well as to promote economic growth through investment in agriculture, women’s empowerment and education.
The World Bank is also working with the international community to boost food security and agricultural productivity throughout much of Sub Saharan Africa, and other areas where the MDG has not yet been met. The Bank Group has financed approximately $10 billion per year to reduce world hunger and has worked on strengthening resilience to climate change, as that has also been a detrimental factor standing in the way of completely eradicating hunger.
MDG Results and Hunger Strategies
72 out of 129 developing countries have now reached the MDG Goal 1, but there is still a long road ahead, which we must not lose sight of, before we see the end of poverty and hunger. Clean water, healthcare, access to better roads, and primary education are other necessities that will further assist with achieving the MDG goal. Adequate tools, strategies, and training methods to increase farming production at local levels are absolutely essential, argues The Hunger Project. The organization states, “In Africa, our epicenter partners run community farms where they implement new techniques while producing food for the epicenter food bank. The Hunger Project firmly believes that empowering women to be key change agents is an essential element to achieving the end of hunger and poverty. Wherever we work, our programs aim to support women and build their capacity.”
Despite the Uncertainty
However, others have criticized the MDGs and the accuracy of its data. Thomas Pogge, a professor in development studies at Yale University, said this assumption might “paint far too rosy a picture of the evolution of extreme poverty”. Though it is uncertain if hunger will be halved by the end of this year, numerous organizations and international donors are determined to minimize food insecurity by heavily promoting gender equality and creating more jobs for women, as well as providing education, investing in agriculture and protecting those who need food assistance during crises–such as the Syrian nationals or refugees living in Lebanon, Egypt, or Germany.