It’s a bitter reality that in a world that is growing closer all the time, hunger, undernutrition, and abject poverty are still rife. The poorest of the poor lack a sufficiently influential voice to make their fundamental concerns be heard. It’s therefore essential that knowledge, political will, and action be brought together in the fight against hunger. The collaboration between Deutsche Welthungerhilfe and the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) contributes to this endeavour.
While there has been progress in the fight against hunger in a number of regions in the world, pledges made to eradicate hunger are being repeatedly broken. The target of halving the proportion of hungry people in the world as agreed by 189 heads of state in the 2000 Millennium Goals will not be met: it’s estimated that if trends continue at the current pace, there will still be around 610 million people suffering from hunger by the year 2015 – that is, 32 million more than set as a target by the heads of state. The considerably more ambitious goal set at the 1996 World Food Summit in Rome – to reduce the number of hungry to 412 million people – can be seen as more desirable but the world is not on track to achieve it.
In addition to the World Food Summit Declaration in 1996 and the Millennium Development Goals of 2000, the 187 member states of the United Nation’s Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) also agreed to implement a “Right to Food” declaration on the basis of voluntary guidelines two years ago. These three declarations provide civil society organisations – in the North as well as the South – with important starting points from which they can assess the actions of governments and call for the fulfilment of their commitments.
Without public pressure, however, the drastic situation of the hungry and undernourished will not improve. Deutsche Welthungerhilfe, working in collaboration with other nongovernmental organisations in the North as well as the South, has been a committed advocate for the hungry and poor for many decades. The fight against hunger and poverty requires advocacy as well as lobbying efforts and public and private funding to support relief projects.
Reputable advocacy work must be founded on facts and sound scientific evidence. The Global Hunger Index developed by IFPRI and presented to the public in this report fills a gap. The index can provide a differentiated picture of the causes and manifestations of hunger in most developing countries and countries in transition. This index helps to monitor both the successes and failures in the fight against hunger. Conclusions drawn from information in the index can pave the way for effective political action and well-designed strategies for eradicating hunger. We hope that the new Global Hunger Index will become an effective tool in the fight against hunger and poverty!