According to a new report from the UN, if better efforts aren’t made soon, the region could be at risk of losing the fight against hunger.
The Asia-Pacific region is home to more than 60% of the world’s hungry, with the highest concentration located in Southern Asia, according to a United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization report published this week.
After years of success in reducing the prevalence of hunger, several countries are even showing a worrying reversal in this trend. In places like Afghanistan and the Philippines, hunger has actually become more widespread.
The UN warns that unless more concerted efforts are made, the dream of “zero hunger” by 2030 — one of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals — won’t be reached.
“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, assistant director-general of the UN FAO.
The fight is slowing
In some parts of the Asia-Pacific, the fight against hunger — measured by the percentage decrease in hunger rate — has slowed to nearly a grinding halt over the past two decades.
In Bangladesh and India, efforts have gradually hit the brakes since the 1990s, according to the report.
Bangladesh peaked at a hunger reduction rate of 10.9% from 1997-2002. Success has been shockingly low in recent years — a mere 0.9% from 2010-2015.
Similar patterns were seen in other countries, from Cambodia and Indonesia, to Thailand and Timor-Leste.
The report says this could be due to the fact that as the hunger prevalence rate falls, it becomes much harder to reduce the rate even further.
“A lot of the people who have escaped hunger were people who had relatively decent education, they were connected to markets, they lived near healthcare centers so they could take care of their children,” David Dawe, a senior economist for the UN FAO and co-author of the report, told CNN.
“These were people who naturally escaped first and lived near a place where they could get a good job,” he added. “Having a good job is one important determiner to escape hunger, because you need the money to buy food and so a job gives you access to that.”
The report suggests that, today, nations might have to make better efforts to eliminate hunger than they had to in the past.
Source : CNN
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