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article imageUN Conference: Starvation a 'world emergency'

By Stephanie Dearing     Oct 15, 2009 in Food
With World Food Day arriving tomorrow, a UN conference on world hunger recently concluded there is nothing to celebrate: hunger is a "world emergency that calls for action from both developing and developed countries."
With the news that there has been a drastic increase in the number of world hunger and poverty, tomorrow's World Food Day will not be a celebration. Some 300 food experts attended a two day conference hosted by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the World Food Programme (WFP). Held in Rome earlier this week, the reached the stunning conclusion that we have all the answers to address human hunger - we only lack the political will. ActionAid International's head, Otive Igbuzor told press "It's actually a world emergency that calls for action from both developing and developed countries. We know a child dies every six seconds of malnutrition."
Hunger, concluded participants at the conference, is not just caused by environmental conditions, such as drought, which impact how much food can be produced. Hunger is also caused by "insufficient political will to address key food security concerns, structural problems, and weak governance."
There was a world goal set in 2000 to cut global hunger by one-half by the year 2015. Instead of nearing that goal, there are more hungry people than ever before. At present, there are 1 billion people in the world who are hungry, the highest number ever. The majority of the world's hungry live in developing nations. Two years after the agreement to cut world hunger by half, the hungry of the world had increased to 850 million people.
There are multiple factors at the root of world hunger. Part of the problem has been traced to periodic decreases from governments in development assistance for agricultural programs. The economic crisis of 2008-2090 has also contributed to world hunger by increasing the number of people living in poverty. Many developing countries have been putting less money into agricultural production, with a subsequent decline in production. Climate change also is contributing to poverty and impacting negatively on agricultural production.
However, experts have pointed their fingers at lack of financial support for agriculture as the key reason for the increase in hunger. When they met in Rome this past week, they said $83 billion a year is needed to be put into agriculture in developing countries to ensure that food supplies will grow with the population in the future.
Many organizations around the world are working to raise awareness of the pressing need for solutions to world hunger problem. In Canada the Art of Living Foundation is hosting walks in seven Canadian cities for a 72 hour period on October 16 - 18th, an annual global event that allows people to Stand Against Poverty. Stand Up and Take Action has a photostream.
Hunger and lack of access to clean drinking water are two key issues that will continue to generate conflict, according to Bread for the World Institute.
It is expected that next month's meeting of the Food and Agriculture Organization will see a new goal to eliminate hunger by 2025 adopted.
More about World hunger, Food, World food day, Fao, United nations food agriculture
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