The UN believes that reaching the MDGs by 2015 is still possible. Despite the setbacks, many countries, particularly in Asia, have been successful in the fight to halve poverty among their people. However, progress with global hunger is still stymied. The number of undernourished people in the world increased by 75 million in 2007 and 40 million in 2008 due to higher food prices. The number of the hungry also increased by 100 million in 2009, reaching over 1 billion people. It is not that there isn’t enough food for everyone, the crux of the matter is that people simply do not have the money to pay for it.
However, most countries are making concerted progress towards achieving their targets and though there have been problems, the direction is generally positive.
There are complications that stand in the way of accurately assessing poverty and hunger levels. The lack of good quality surveys and gaps in data collection heavily detract from the UN’s ability to properly monitor and evaluate the effect of what has been implemented. This problem is particularly pronounced in places, such as sub-Saharan Africa and smaller island states in the Pacific and Caribbean.
Another issue when dealing with the poverty and hunger question is the fact that many of these countries that suffer from the condition of poverty and hunger are under extreme foreign debt. Though the International Monetary Fund, through its HIPC intiative, is looking to help ease the worst of the financial burdens these countries have to carry, a sizable portion of GDP is still moved away from the national economy.
Article 25 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that, “Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and his family, including food…” Article 11 of the International Covenant on Economic Social and Cultural Rights affirms that everyone has “…the fundamental right of everyone to be free from hunger….” The right to be liberated from the tyranny of poverty and hunger is such a fundamental instinctual one, everyone can understand it.
Amidst much bleakness, there are a healthy number of success stories to do with MDG 1 and the world’s fight against poverty.
Global Poverty Project's blog talks about a MDG1 success in Malawi, where the Millennium Village Project is giving seeds and fertilizer to local farmers to push them beyond the mindset and condition of year-to-year survival. After three years, the project has been a success going far beyond merely lifting the village out of a condition of poverty but improving health and education standards.
In Brazil, a national emergency program called Fome Zero (“Zero Hunger”) tries to institute both short and long term measures to the problem of hunger and malnutrition. Short term measures, such as a three-times-a-day feeding program have been successful especially among schoolchildren who’s visits to the doctor for poverty-related illnesses, according to a local clinic in Southern Brazil, are decreasing rapidly as a result.
- 08/03/2011 09:47 - Latest progress