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Report Finds 'Alarming' Rise in Global HungerSalem-News.com
Financial crisis and gender inequality worsen malnutrition.
(NEW YORK) - Underscoring the warning issued by the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization and the World Food Program that hunger is worsening around the world, the 2009 Global Hunger Index (GHI) records “alarming” levels of hunger and malnutrition in 29 countries.
Released 14 Oct., the GHI is published each year by the international humanitarian agency Concern Worldwide, the German NGO Welt Hunger Hilfe, and the International Food Policy Research Institute.
“US leadership is crucial in working toward a more food-secure world,” said Tom Arnold, CEO of Concern. Last year’s food riots sparked sharp spikes in food and energy prices, he said, and that served “as a wake-up call for the world,” prompting the G8 nations to commit $20B to fight hunger in those countries most in need of assistance.
The 2009 GHI survey also found a strong correlation between gender inequality and malnutrition rates for children. Thirteen countries—ten of them in sub-Saharan Africa— showed increases in hunger levels compared to 1990. Burundi, Chad, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Sierra Leone and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) are the worst off.
In DRC and Eritrea, respectively 76 percent and 68 and percent of the populations are undernourished. Sierra Leone’s child mortality rate stands at 26 percent, the world’s highest rate.
Arnold, speaking this week at the 2009 World Food Prize Foundation’s symposium in Des Moines, IA, said that aid money is only part of the solution. “Many of the recipient countries must also be prepared to change their policies toward agriculture, and rural development,” he said, “sectors that have been neglected by these countries and donor nations alike in recent decades.”
Agricultural reform hinges in particular on investment in women, women farmers in particular. “The research shows that equalizing men’s and women’s status would reduce the number of malnourished children by 13.4 million in South Asia and by 1.7 million in sub-Saharan Africa,” said Arnold.
“The fact that we now know that hunger and gender inequality go hand-in-hand is a key finding, so a crucial factor towards ending world hunger is the empowerment of women and eradicating gender disparities in education, economic participation, health, and political opportunities,” he said.
In 2009, 1.02 billion people are undernourished, an increase of 100 million over last year. The GHI found the biggest improvements in Kuwait, Tunisia, Malaysia, Turkey, Angola, Ghana, Nicaragua, and Vietnam. Ethiopia made significant progress too, but still ranks among the most afflicted countries.
Visit this link for more details: http://www.concern.net/sites/concern.net/files/GHI_09.pdf
Source: Concern Worldwide
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