ABU DHABI, 13th September, 2018 (WAM) -- The war against hunger is truly mankind’s war of liberation, once stated John F. Kennedy. Unfortunately, the global war on hunger is losing steam and the unpalatable truth is that the number of undernourished people actually increased from 777 million to 821 million over the last two years.
"The implication is also that global hunger reached an alarming ten-year high in 2017, as indicated by the UN’s annual multi-agency flagship report on the State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World," a UAE newspaper has commented.
"The trend confirms a worrying reversal of positive movement seen earlier in the new millennium," said The Gulf Today in an editorial on Thursday.
A glance at the figures could rattle anyone’s conscience. Globally, one in nine do not have enough food to eat. In sub-Saharan Africa, more than one in four may have suffered from chronic hunger in 2017. Asia has the largest number of undernourished people, 515 million.
Nearly 151 million children under five suffered from stunting due to malnutrition, a condition that hampers physical and mental development. More than 50 million children under five are too thin for their height and more than 38 million are overweight.
Achieving zero hunger by 2030 is one of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals adopted by member states in 2015. The setting of such a goal is indeed noble, but lack of timely, coordinated and effective action may mar the objective.
Children are paying a heavy price. Save the Children charity’s warning that 600,000 children in war zones could die from extreme hunger by the end of this year as funding shortfalls kick in and warring parties block supplies from getting to the people who need them should be taken very seriously.
UN experts have identified three primary drivers across the world as reasons for the increase in hunger: the intensification of conflict, an economic downturn and the effects of climate change.
Climate variability and extremes are already undermining food production in some regions and if action to mitigate disaster risk reduction and preparedness is not taken the situation will only get worse as temperatures are expected to rise and become more extreme.
While the root causes of hunger have been diagnosed, world leaders need to join hands and address the issue by implementing peace and climate resilience initiatives.
"It should never be forgotten that hunger is the world’s most solvable challenge. What is called for is collective will and action. Not a single person on earth should go to bed hungry because of deprivation," concluded the Sharjah-based daily.