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New report shows mixed results in tackling world hunger

The majority of countries in sub-Saharan Africa are far from meeting the United Nations goals of cutting hunger and child mortality significantly by 2015, according to the new Global Hunger Index published today.

The Index is compiled by the Washington-based International Food Policy Research Institute, in conjunction with German Agro-Action, Germany’s largest humanitarian agency, and Concern. By combining three key indicators – the proportion of people who are calorie deficient, the levels of malnutrition and mortality among children – it ranks 118 countries in developing and transitional countries.

It shows that Burundi and the Democratic Republic of the Congo have suffered the greatest setbacks with regard to achieving the Millennium Development Goal of halving hunger and cutting mortality in children under five by two-thirds by 2015. These are followed by Swaziland, Liberia and North Korea while the Comoros, Yemen, Zimbabwe, Guinea-Bissau and Venezuela make up the rest of the 10 most vulnerable countries.

Tom Arnold, Chief Executive of Concern, stressed that progress is also being made in many areas of the world. He said the Global Hunger Index shows that Cuba, Kuwait, Fiji, Peru and Uruguay top the list of countries on track to meet the 2015 targets. Good progress has also been made in India: “The sub-Saharan Africa countries of Mozambique, Ghana and Malawi have made significant strides in reducing hunger while Ethiopia is also very close to being on track to achieving the Millennium Development Goal (MDG). However, the reality remains that if progress continues at current rates, the vast majority of the 118 countries listed in the Index will fail to meet the 2015 targets.

“We are now midway between the signing of the declaration by 189 countries in September 2000 and the 2015 deadline. Bringing attention to the countries that are not on track to meet the goals will, we hope, motivate world and national leaders to intensify the effort”, he added.

The Global Hunger Index report also highlights some of the innovative ways that are being used to alleviate hunger. One of these, Community Therapeutic Care, or CTC, has been pioneered by Concern and is an efficient and low-cost method of treating people in the community rather than in special feeding centres. It has recently been adopted by the UN as best international practice in the fight against hunger.

Click here to read full PDF version of Global Index 2007.