"Starving" for global attention

Oct. 16, 2007, midnight | By Anika Manzoor | 16 years, 8 months ago

Solution for worldwide hunger crisis moving at sluggish pace

One child dies of hunger every five seconds, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations (UN). To a simple minded person, this concept would be hard to understand. There is more than enough food for everyone in the world; global agriculture is able to provide an astounding 2,720,000 calories per person per day. Considering that a person needs a minimum of 2100 calories to lead a productive life, one would expect the entire world's population to be well-fed.

Regardless, the World Health Organization (WHO) says that a ghastly 854 million are underfed – 820 million in developing countries, 25 million in countries in transition and 9 million in industrialized countries - including the United States.

In a global sense, hunger is not caused by minimal food production; it is caused by poverty. Of these 850 million people, over 95 percent live in extreme poverty in developing countries. These populations are subjected to the lack of access to clean water, poor sanitation – both leading to disease, which worsens hunger – corrupt politics, low agricultural production and goods which they are unable to purchase because of high prices or unavailability.

In 2000, the UN initiated action to alleviate the situation. They developed the Millennium Development Goals (MDG), an eight-goal plan adopted by 189 of the world's most powerful nations, including the United States. The first objective on the list was to cut the number of people suffering from hunger in half by the year 2015. In the last seven years, the plan has been successful in reducing hunger in South and East Asia, particularly China and India.

Unfortunately, at these countries' current pace, the goal does not seem reachable in eight years. While the Asia-Pacific region has the potential to continue reducing poverty, hunger in Northern and Eastern Africa is increasing and advancement toward reducing hunger in Sub-Saharan Africa is moving exceptionally slowly.

Alarming statistics show that the problems are only increasing - the FAO says that the situation in the 1990s was better than it is today. According to the World Food Programme, an overwhelming 71 percent of the population in Afghanistan is undernourished, no doubt caused by insurgents' attacks and an increasing number of internally displaced persons.

Today, FAO celebrates World Food Day, the 62nd anniversary of the organization and also, a day to raise awareness about the overwhelming presence of hunger in our world amongst citizens, who have power of their own to affect change and persuade policy makers.

Many Americans have joined ONE Vote '08, a movement to make the eradication of global hunger and poverty a top priority amongst presidential candidates. If these powerful countries continue to ignore the issue at hand, it is up to the public to remind them of their promise to help save the 850 million people robbed of a fundamental right to food.

Anika Manzoor. Although she may look like a cute and innocent freshman, Anika is actually a SENIOR(!!), who kicks butts and takes names on a daily basis. But otherwise she's very friendly with a sunny disposition and a constant snarl - er smile on her face =D … More »

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