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Everyone has the right to adequate food in a quantity and quality sufficient to satisfy their dietary needs. One of the key challenges going forward is to shine a light on food quality, to address hidden hunger

For decades, the global political and development agenda has failed to put the spotlight on hunger and undernutrition. While recent years have seen more ambition and action, the tragedy of hunger persists for 805 million hungry people today. This suffering—which for many is part of everyday life—cannot be allowed to continue. As the contours of the post-2015 development agenda emerge, the international ­community must work to ensure that food and nutrition security is at the heart of the new development framework. It is possible to successfully end poverty, but only if we successfully fight hunger.

This is the ninth year in which the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) has calculated the Global Hunger Index (GHI), analyzing and recording the state of hunger worldwide, highlighting the countries and regions where action is most needed. The 2014 GHI shows that progress has been made in reducing the proportion of hungry people in the world. Despite progress, levels of hunger remain “alarming” or “extremely alarming” in 16 countries. This year’s report focuses on a critical aspect of hunger that is often overlooked: hidden hunger. Also known as micronutrient deficiency, hidden hunger affects more than an estimated 2 billion people globally. The repercussions of these vitamin and mineral deficiencies can be both serious and long-lasting.

Effects of hidden hunger include child and maternal death, physical disabilities, weakened immune systems, and compromised intellects. Where hidden hunger has taken root, it not only prevents people from surviving and thriving as productive members of society, it also holds countries back in a cycle of poor nutrition, poor health, lost productivity, persistent poverty, and reduced economic growth. This demonstrates why not only the right to food, but also access to the right type of food at the right time, is important for both individual well-being and countries as a whole.

In this report, Concern Worldwide and Welthungerhilfe provide important on-the-ground perspectives, describing what their organizations are doing in order to alleviate hidden hunger and sustainably promote food and nutrition security. Based on these experiences and the research findings of IFPRI, this report proposes policy recommendations to help reduce the prevalence of vitamin and mineral deficiencies.

Now is the time for the global community to mobilize to end hidden hunger. We hope that this report will not only generate discussion but also serve as a catalyst for more concerted efforts to overcome hunger and reduce nutrition insecurity around the world.

Dr. Wolfgang Jamann

Secretary General and Chairperson
Welthungerhilfe

Dr. Shenggen Fan

Director General
International Food Policy Research Institute

Dominic MacSorley

Chief Executive
Concern Worldwide