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Number Of Undernourished Has Fallen, But More Effort Needed To Reach MDG, U.N. Report Says

“The number of people who are chronically undernourished has fallen from an estimated 868 million in 2010-12 to 842 million in 2011-13, according to a U.N. report that celebrates progress made, but warns that ‘considerable and immediate additional efforts’ will be needed to meet global goals to reduce hunger by 2015,” The Guardian reports. “If current rates of progress continue, the report says, the prevalence of undernourishment in the developing world will approach 13 percent by 2015 — close to, but still above, the [Millennium Development Goal (MDG)] target” of 12 percent, the newspaper notes (Provost, 10/1). “The report on food insecurity was compiled jointly by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the World Food Programme (WFP) and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD),” Deutsche Welle adds (10/1). “The vast majority of people suffering hunger, or 827 million, live in developing countries, where the prevalence of undernourishment is estimated at 14.3 percent, the report found,” according to Reuters (Flak, 10/1).

According to the report, the successes in reducing the number of undernourished is attributable to “higher economic growth in developing countries, an increase in farm productivity rates and more private and public investments in agriculture,” as well as “remittances from emigrants, which have risen to three times higher than development aid globally, [and] were helping improve diets in countries like Bangladesh and Tajikistan,” Agence France-Presse writes. “The report said 62 countries have already reached the target of halving the proportion of hunger,” but “[d]espite overall progress, marked differences across regions persist, the report said,” the news agency notes (10/1). The report “says hunger is most prevalent in sub-Saharan Africa, where progress has been modest,” VOA News writes, adding, “Improvement has been slow in Southern Asia and Northern Africa, and non-existent in Western Asia. Latin America and Eastern and Southeastern Asia have seen the most progress” (Baragona, 10/1). “The findings and recommendations of [the report] will be discussed by governments, civil society and private sector representatives at the October 7-11 meeting of the Committee on World Food Security at FAO headquarters in Rome,” an FAO press release notes (10/1).