Drop in Number of Hungry People is More Due to Luck Than Good Policy

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Drop in Number of Hungry People is More Due to Luck Than Good Policy

New Oxfam report shows halving world hunger by 2015 is still possible

WASHINGTON - The world can halve global hunger within five years says a new Oxfam report launched today. The launch of "Halving World Hunger: Still Possible?"
coincides with an announcement by the UN Food and Agriculture
Organization (FAO) that the number of hungry people worldwide has
dropped by 98 million to 925 million in the past year.

Oxfam welcomes the news that the number of hungry people has declined
for the first time in 15 years – down from a record high of 1.02
billion in 2009. However it warns that the decline is largely down to
luck – including two years of good harvests which had, until recently,
led to a fall in global food prices – and not the policies and increased
investment which are needed to address the underlying causes of hunger.

"Any reduction in the number of hungry people is
welcome but the food crisis has not gone away. 925 million hungry people
is still a scandal." said Oxfam International Executive Director Jeremy
Hobbs.

"The dip in the number of hungry people has more to do with luck then
judgement. Another global food crisis could explode at any time unless
governments tackle the underlying causes of hunger, including food price
volatility, decades of under investment in agriculture, and climate
change," added Hobbs.

In less than a week world leaders will meet in New
York to review progress on the Millennium Development Goals including
the goal to halve world hunger by 2015 (MDG 1). In the ten years since
the MDGs were agreed, the proportion of hungry people in the world has
only decreased by just half a percent – from 14 percent in 2000 to 13.5
per cent today.

Oxfam's new report, "Halving World Hunger: Still Possible?" points to
countries such as Vietnam that have achieved or are on track to achieve
MDG 1 as evidence that halving world hunger is still possible. These
countries have dramatically reduced hunger at home by supporting poor
food producers and providing social safety nets for people who cannot
produce or buy enough food.

Oxfam calls on world leaders, meeting in New York
from 20-22 September, to back the development of a global action plan on
hunger as part of a broader MDG rescue package. The action plan should:

  • Support the development of national plans to reduce hunger;
  • Ensure these plans are properly funded through increased international aid and national investment; and
  • Develop the global policies needed to address global threats to food security.

"It's been ten years since world leaders vowed to halve global hunger
by 2015 but we are no closer towards achieving this goal. We know it is
possible. We have the recipe for doing it. The only missing ingredient
is the political will. When world leaders get together in New York they
must put their weight behind a global action plan that will bring all
countries together to tackle hunger," said Hobbs.

"Tackling hunger must be part of a broader MDG package.
We cannot ask a mother to decide between feeding and educating her
child. We cannot afford to miss a single Millennium Development Goal,"
said Hobbs.

Read more

Download the report: Halving Hunger: Still Possible? Building a rescue package to set the MDGs back on track

The Millennium Development Goals

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Oxfam International is a confederation of 13 like-minded organizations working together and with partners and allies around the world to bring about lasting change. Oxfam works directly with communities and that seeks to influence the powerful to ensure that poor people can improve their lives and livelihoods and have a say in decisions that affect them.

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