By Kathryn McConnell
21 November 2012
The world is on track to meet the Millennium Development Goals by 2015, according to the U.S. anti-hunger advocacy group Bread for the World Institute.
In its 2013 Hunger Report: Within Reach — Global Development Goals, Bread for the World says that since 2000 — the year that 189 nations agreed to eight global Millennium Development Goals — more people escaped from poverty than in any other decade in history. By 2012, the goal of halving the proportion of people living below the international poverty line was met in every region of the developing world, the report says.
The report adds that ending hunger in a generation — or roughly by 2040 — can be achieved. It notes that progress toward that goal is closer than believed two years earlier. To meet the goal by 2015, the share of the world’s population that is hungry would have to go down almost 12 percent, it states.
“The tools are already available, but we have to be willing to deploy them. Mostly it depends on a concerted and sustained push by government leaders and civil society organizations working together,” Bread for the World says.
The report says that, since 2000, the goals known as the MDGs have galvanized public support around the world for ending hunger and extreme poverty. In 2009, President Obama set forth the Feed the Future initiative to connect all U.S. government efforts targeted at global hunger and food security, to expand engagement with private sector partners with an interest in serving the needs of vulnerable populations, and to focus on science, technology and innovation.
So far, Feed the Future has helped nearly 2 million farmers improve practices to boost crop yields and has reached almost 9 million children through nutrition programs, it says in its progress report Boosting Harvests, Fighting Poverty, released in October.
Accelerating progress in fighting hunger and poverty requires a special focus on improving the status in society of women and on preventing stunting in children due to lack of adequate nutrition, according to the report. The report states that more investments in smallholder agriculture and social protections also are needed to reduce hunger.“That means designing micro-insurance packages for pastoralists and providing drought-tolerant seeds to farmers. It means helping families learn about more nutritious foods and helping communities resolve conflicts over resources so tension doesn’t escalate in a dry season,” U.S. Agency for International Development Administrator Rajiv Shah said November 15 at a Bread for the World conference in Washington.
Among the eight MDGs are universal access to education, gender equality, improving maternal and child health, combating HIV/AIDS, creating environmental sustainability and developing global partnerships.
National and civil society leaders are expected to meet in 2015 to set global goals to succeed the MDGs.