With less than three years before a 2015 deadline, the developing world is largely expected to miss one of the U.N.’s key Millennium Development Goals (MDGs): halving the number of people living in extreme poverty and hunger.
Despite limited progress, there are still more than 1.4 billion people – out of a total global population of over seven billion – who live below the poverty line of 1.25 dollars and on the razor edge of starvation.
The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has, however, identified at least 16 countries that have already reached the 1996 World
Food Summit’s goal of halving the total number of undernourished people.
“This was made possible by the priority the government has set on ensuring the right to food and polices it has implemented,” says FAO Director-General Jose Graziano da Silva.
The 16 countries – namely Armenia, Azerbaijan, Chile, Cuba, Fiji, Georgia, Ghana, Guyana, Nicaragua, Peru, Samoa, Sao Tome and Principe, Thailand, Uruguay, Venezuela and Viet Nam – were honored at an FAO ceremony in Rome on Jun. 16.
Meanwhile, released in a recent report, a high-level panel of eminent persons has projected a 2030 deadline to eradicate extreme poverty and hunger from the face of the earth.
But how realistic is this new deadline?
Ambassador Ernest Corea, who served for nearly 19 years on the staff of the World Bank’s secretariat for the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR), said “On the quicksand of development, predictions are dangerous.”
Two missed monsoons could upend whatever progress has been made towards reaching this goal, he noted.
“Still, it is better to reach out towards a worthwhile objective than to do nothing at all.”
Hunger is a cruel and debilitating scourge. Malnutrition, often the by-product of hunger, causes the deaths of three million children per year, he added.
Reversing this tragic situation is a goal worth striving for, don’t you think?