Hunger elimination is top priority for UN

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Hunger elimination has always been a core objective of the UN. Recent efforts include the launch of the Voices of the Hungry project by the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and the Zero Hunger Challenge by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, both of which were discussed in the UK Parliament earlier this year.

'Voices of the Hungry' is a pilot initiative which will, through an annual survey, evaluate the difficulties faced by people in terms of accessing food. Its aim is to make "more visible the actual experiences" of individuals and communities. Due to be rolled out in some 150 countries from 2014, the survey will be used to assess the current status of food insecurity around the world, and to guide policies for strengthening resilience. It will also help to monitor progress towards the goals set out in the Secretary-General's hunger challenge.

The Zero Hunger Challenge was launched at the 'Rio+20' UN Conference on Sustainable Development in June 2012. With the overall aim of eliminating hunger worldwide, the challenge has five objectives:

  • Complete access to adequate food for everyone
  • Eliminating childhood stunting for children under the age of two and ending malnutrition during pregnancy and early childhood stages
  • Ensuring sustainable food systems
  • Doubling smallholder farmers’ productivity and income
  • Ending food loss and wastage

Responding to a question on the UK's plans to incorporate hunger and nutrition into the wider global development agenda, House of Lords whip Baroness Northover said that the UK was working with a range of international organisations, including the FAO, on meeting the Zero Hunger Challenge. She stated that Prime Minister David Cameron, who is co-chairing a UN panel on the future of international development, was promoting this issue in that process.

The UK will also be championing food security in the run-up to the June G8 summit, during which time it will host a second hunger summit. It has also indicated its support for the Enough Food for Everyone IF Campaign.

Led by a coalition of British NGOs and charities, including UNA-UK, the IF Campaign has a simple, compelling message: we produce enough food to feed the world but nearly one billion people go to bed hungry every night.

The UN World Food Programme has praised the UK's commitment and has encouraged it to “continue its leading role, including among the G8, in the fight against world hunger”.

Read more

Introduction to the Voices of the Hungry project released by the FAO

UN press release on the Zero Hunger Challenge

Baroness Northover’s statement

Written evidence submitted by the World Food Programme before the International Development Committee

Photo: Photo exhibition entitled ‘World Hunger: A Solvable Problem’, at the UN Headquarters (UN Photo/JC McIlwaine)

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