BBC NEWS Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific
BBCi NEWS   SPORT   WEATHER   WORLD SERVICE   A-Z INDEX     

BBC News World Edition
 You are in: Science/Nature  
News Front Page
Africa
Americas
Asia-Pacific
Europe
Middle East
South Asia
UK
Business
Entertainment
Science/Nature
Technology
Health
-------------
Talking Point
-------------
Country Profiles
In Depth
-------------
Programmes
-------------
BBC Sport
BBC Weather
SERVICES
-------------
EDITIONS
Tuesday, 15 October, 2002, 10:24 GMT 11:24 UK
World failing to reduce hunger
Woman and child
Continuing struggle: Little has changed since 1996
Ambitious plans to halve world hunger by 2015 are facing failure, says a report from the United Nations.

Experts predict that it could take a century to meet the target if progress were to continue at the current rate.

Jacques Diouf, the director general of the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), said that progress had "virtually ground to a halt" in the past year.


If we continue at the current pace, we will reach the goal more than 100 years late, closer to the year 2150 than to the year 2015

Jacques Diouf, FAO
It is estimated that 25,000 people a day die as a result of hunger and poverty.

Each year, six million children under the age of five are affected.

The target of cutting the number of hungry in half by 2015 was set in 1996, and the FAO calculates that the total should fall by at least 24 million a year in order to meet it.

However, this would require the progress between 1992 and 2000 to not only be matched in future but increased tenfold.

Billions pumped in

The UN has set up an anti-hunger programme which aims to increase investment in developing countries by $24bn a year.

Open in new window : An unequal world
Statistics showing global inequality

The latest estimate is that in 1998-2000 there were 840 million undernourished people in the world, including 799 million in developing countries.

Image from Somalian famine
Famine still strikes Africa
This is actually more than the previous estimate.

Most of the increase took place in central Africa, driven by warfare in a single country, DR Congo, which has an estimated 36.4 million undernourished citizens.

The biggest improvement took place in China, which relieved hunger for 74 million. South-east Asia saw most of the major success stories, with malnutrition cut dramatically in Indonesia, Vietnam and Thailand.

In Africa, Nigeria and Ghana recorded significant falls in malnutrition.

'Far too slow'

Mr Diouf said: "If we continue at the current pace, we will reach the goal more than 100 years late, closer to the year 2150 than to the year 2015."

The report also highlights a separate, and more pervasive, problem dubbed "hidden hunger".

Even though people who suffer it may not be technically malnourished, they lack vital nutrients in their diet and their health suffers as a result.

Up to two billion people are said to be vulnerable to this.

Women and children are particularly hard hit, says the report - for example, up to 140 million children risk sight problems because they do not have enough vitamin A in their diets.

See also:

01 Apr 00 | Africa
17 Jan 02 | Business
08 Feb 02 | Africa
15 Feb 02 | South Asia
Internet links:


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more Science/Nature stories are at the foot of the page.


E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Science/Nature stories

© BBC ^^ Back to top

News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East |
South Asia | UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature |
Technology | Health | Talking Point | Country Profiles | In Depth |
Programmes