At the 1996 World Food Summit (WFS), heads of government and the international community committed themselves to reducing the number
of hungry people in the world by half. Five years later, the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) lowered this level of ambition by only seeking to halve the proportion
of the hungry.
Eight decades ago, during the Great Depression, newly elected U.S. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt introduced the New Deal consisting of a number of mutually supporting initiatives of which the most prominent were:
The growing consensus, momentum and commitment to eradicate world hunger may seem overly ambitious in view of the slow progress in reducing the number of hungry people in the world in recent decades.
Between 2010 and 2012, 868 million people worldwide were deemed hungry by a conservative definition. This figure represents only a small fraction of the world’s population whose health and lives are blighted by malnutrition.
No wonder the Euro zone countries, including Germany, are witnessing growing protests against the severe austerity measures. The unemployment rate in the Euro zone has exceeded 12% with close to 20 million people, mostly young, without a job.
On Sunday, the International Monetary Fund called for governments to rise together to face the challenges posed by the ongoing financial turmoil. Unfortunately, most developing countries do not feel the IMF belongs to them, which may adversely affect their willingness to accept Fund leadership, writes Jomo Kwame Sundaram, United Nations Assistant-Secretary-General for Economic Development. The 31 March proposal goes for approval to the Board of Governors at the annual Spring meetings this weekend. A reform of voting shares is long overdue, as the changed global economic landscape has accentuated the gross under-representation of developing countries. At the IMF's inception in Bretton Woods, New Hampshire, in 1944, all countries got basic votes in order to ensure voice and representation even for the smallest economies, while quota votes were allocated roughly in proportion to each country's economic clout. Basic votes made up almost 12 per cent of the total at the outset, rose to 16 per cent at its apex, but have decreased to a meagre 2.2 per cent since, as quota votes have increased in relative weight. Meanwhile, the Fund's membership has more than quadrupled from 44 to 184. If the weight of each country's basic vote had been preserved from the outset, and not been diluted by more than 95 per cent, the total basic votes today would come to about half. Instead, the proposal will treble the basic votes' share of total votes from 2.1 per cent to 5.5 per cent.