New York: The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) on Tuesday launched a report that outlines declining progress towards defeating hunger in Asia and the Pacific, noting that nearly one-in-three children suffer from stunting, and warning that to meet the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) of zero hunger by 2030, the region must redouble its efforts.
“The analysis in this report is an eye-opener and a wake-up call to all of us here in Asia and the Pacific,” said Kundhavi Kadiresan, FAO Assistant Director-General and Regional Representative, during the launch in Bangkok, Thailand, of FAO’s 2016 Asia and the Pacific Regional Overview of Food Insecurity – Investing in a Zero Hunger Generation – the first post-Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) report of its kind.
The report indicates that the Asia-Pacific region is home to more than 60 per cent of the roughly 800 million hungry people in the world, 12 per cent of whom remain undernourished – mostly in Southern Asia.
Kadiresan continued: “To some, the year 2030 may still seem far away, but it’s only 14 years from now and we still have nearly half-a-billion hungry people in this region. That 12 per cent represents some of the poorest and hardest to reach people. So the clock is ticking, but with political will and collective action we can reach our goal of zero hunger.”
The report acknowledges that eradicating hunger means reducing poverty and addressing economic, social and environmental challenges. This is exacerbated by a forecasted increase of two billion to the world population – culminating in more than nine billion people by 2050.
According to the report, zero hunger can be achieved, provided that certain steps are followed, particularly by increasing investment in more efficient production methods and agricultural research.
“Most countries in this region are spending too little on agricultural research,” Kadiresan noted.
Photo: FAO/ Vinod Ahuja
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