Promises do not fill the hungry

In 2012, during Conference in Rio, countries and UN agencies launched a development plan for common sustainability goals at local, regional and global levels, in accordance with principles of equity, inclusion and growth.

Three years later, 17 new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) have been defined in continuity with the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs 2000). New targets necessary because virtually none of the MDGs 2000 objectives had been achieved.

Basic for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) the commitment to eliminate hunger and poverty all over the world. Objective 2 is an exhortation to “end hunger, achieve food security, improve nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture.”

Unfortunately “Promises do not fill the hungry” wrote the Global Hunger Index 2016 report authors (jointly by the International Food Policy Research Institute, IFPRI, Concern Worldwide and Welthungerhilfe, WHH). To solve this problem they said there is no need of studies and fine words but actions, tailored and based on facts.

It is true that, today, the level of hunger in the developing world has declined, but the numbers are still frightening: 795 million men, women and children are hungry. One in four children is about to arrest growth because of hunger and nearly one in ten suffers from decay.

The situation is particularly serious in 50 countries. Alarming GHI (growth health index) scores were detected in Africa. Here in 13 countries it was not even possible to calculate the GHI because of insufficient data. Countries like Burundi, Comoros, Democratic Republic of Congo, Eritrea, Libya, Papua New Guinea, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan and Syria, which are of great concern because of internal conflicts and the state of disrepair. Levels of malnutrition and infant mortality in these countries are among the highest in the world.

The truth is that beyond international programs and promises, for many of these countries none is really doing anything. That’s the alarm KIWANIS CLUB PANORMO launched. In many parts of the world, local authorities do not even know the difference between “hunger” (discomfort associated with lack of food, UN and FAO defines food shortages or malnutrition undernourishment or the consumption of less than 1,800 calories per day), “undernutrition” (an issue that goes beyond the calories consumed: indicates energy deficiencies, protein, essential vitamins and minerals) and “malnutrition” (which refers more broadly both undernutrition that the overnutrition or in those pathologies which result from unbalanced diets as, for example, a power consumption of an excessive amount of calories in relation to requirements).

The effects are different: malnutrition, decay and child (the proportion of children younger than five years, is inadequate weight in relation height, which is acute undernutrition index); arrest of child growth (defined as the proportion of children younger than five years has stunted, height It is low in relation to age, which is chronic undernutrition index) up to infant mortality (often derived from a combination of insufficient nutrition and unhealthy environments).

Even today, among children aged under five years, one in four (28.1 percent) is affected by stunting, 8.4 percent is suffering from decay and the mortality rate under five years is still unacceptable: 4.7 percent (data 2015).

According to studies, undernutrition is responsible for almost half of all child deaths worldwide!

It is a problem that concerns not only the underdeveloped countries or those in developing nations. Even in Europe the situation is worrying. According to Eurostat, in Greece 13 percent of the population “cannot afford a meal with meat, chicken or fish or vegetarian equivalent every two day.” The same in Italy (where the percentage rises to 14 percent). And in the new member states this problem is about one in five. Sign that perhaps the EU entry did not bring the expected positive benefits.

World hunger seems a plague that mankind is not able to eradicate. “In a world of unprecedented technological and economic opportunities, we find it totally unacceptable that more than 100 million children under five are underweight, in terms of not being able to fully develop their human potential and socio-economic, and that malnutrition child kills every year more than 2.5 million children, ” wrote José Graziano da Silva of FAO, Kanayo F. Nwanze of IFAD and WFP chief Ertharin Cousin, in a report.

It wouldn’t be impossible. We produce more than 2,500 million tonnes of cereals such as wheat, maize, rice, barley, oats and others all over the world. If we divide this amount to 7.477 billion inhabitants of the Earth, each person should have 330 kilograms of cereals per year, more than two pounds per day. Adding meat, milk, vegetables, and so fat, no one should be hungry (even if taking into account that not all of these products are intended for human consumption).

According to FAO to eliminate the problem of world hunger would require 267 billion dollars per year (investments in rural and urban areas and social measures to enable even the poorest sections of the population access to food and improve their living conditions).

Few, very few indeed, if we consider that we spend six times as much (1.7 trillion dollars) in armies, weapons, paramilitary forces, defence ministries and government agencies every year (data of the International Institute global military spending on research peace of Stockholm, SIPRI).

Money that rather than being earmarked for wars and “peace missions” could serve to eliminate hunger all over the world.


C.Alessandro Mauceri


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