Global Hunger Index 2012 Launched
By Christopher Yap
Concern Worldwide, the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) and Welthungerhilfe launched the 2012 Global Hunger Index (GHI).
On Monday 15th October Concern Worldwide, the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) and Welthungerhilfe launched the 2012 Global Hunger Index (GHI). The report combines the most recent available data on national rates of malnutrition, child nutrition and child mortality to give a comprehensive snapshot of how hunger is distributed around the globe.
The report finds that overall global hunger has declined since 1991. While South Asia made rapid progress between the first GHI in 1991 and the second report in 1996, progress has slowed significantly in the last decade. Since the third GHI in 2001, Sub-Saharan Africa has made significant progress with the GHI score falling below that of South Asia. However 20 countries still have GHI scores that are considered alarming or extremely alarming. And despite using the most up-to-date data available, the 2012 report does not take into account the most recent global food price rises in 2011-12 or the complete effects of recent natural disasters such as the Haitian earthquake.Two of the three countries with score considered extremely alarming, Burundi and Eritrea, are in Sub-Saharan Africa.
Food security is inextricably linked to global development as population growth, demographic shifts and the increasing scarcity of necessary natural resources makes it more crucial than ever for governments to act effectively. The report urges governments to adopt a holistic strategy towards reducing hunger, stressing how water, land and energy policies are all necessary to address national food security.
The report was launched in London by the British Minister of State for International Development (DFID), the Rt Hon Alan Duncan MP. The Minister reaffirmed the British government’s commitment to ending global hunger, citing current examples of DFID’s work in Yemen, Bangladesh and Zambia. In the last example, DFID are utilizing CocaCola’s distribution network to distribute rehydration sachets and Zinc supplements to the most vulnerable women and children.
Klaus von Grebmer, Senior Research Fellow at the IFPRI outlined the main findings of the report as well as its limitations. Mr von Grebmer noted that whilst the report hides national variations and inequalities, it is possible to identify some strong and definite trends over the past twenty years. He noted that all the countries to have regressed since 2001, with the exception of North Korea, are in sub-Saharan Africa.
Rose Caldwell, Executive Director of Concern Worldwide UK, Burton Twisa, Assistant Country Director of Concern Worldwide, Tanzania and Tom Arnold, Chief Executive of Concern Worldwide, spoke on the significance of the report, the continued existence of global food insecurity and the role of governments and non-governmental organisations in eradicating hunger. Mr Arnold noted the significance of DFID’s work, not just in increasing the amount of money given as International aid, but also persuading other governments to do the same.
The overwhelming message from all speakers, and the report itself, is that moderate progress has been made, but it is insufficient for the scale of the problem. And, as the report itself states:
“There is enough planet for all of us—if we don’t waste it.”
For each country's graphic representation of the report, please move the pointer to the map of the country: