One of the most significant aspects of the international conference on climate change, concluded in Paris on December 12, is that food security and ending hunger feature in the global agenda of the climate change debate.
Successive poor harvests have diminished Ndodana Makhalima's household food stocks and the family’s nutrition status.
A subsistence farmer in Lupane, about 110 kilometres north of Zimbabwe’s second city, Bulawayo, 56 year-old Makhalima has learnt to live with hunger on his door step.
The US once led the post-war global effort against hunger and food insecurity, but corporate influence on government trade negotiators now seek to prevent other countries from using some of the very measures it pioneered.
The latest estimates are that over two billion people in the world suffer some micronutrient deficiencies, often referred to as “hidden hunger.” The main sustainable solution is to ensure adequate public health interventions, including clean water, sanitation and hygiene as well as healthy, diverse diets for all.
At the end of 2014, an estimated 795 million people – one in nine people worldwide – were estimated to be chronically hungry. All but 15 million of the world’s hungry live in developing countries, i.e., 780 million are in developing countries, where the share of the hungry has declined by less than half – from 23.4 per cent in 1991 to 12.9 per cent.
In the semi-darkness of her hut in Berdaballa, a forest village 610 km northeast of Mumbai, 28-year old Babita Mavaskar sat with her newborn baby boy watching him checked by a paramedic in an important antenatal exam. After about 20 minutes the health worker emerged from the shelter and made a big announcement, “All is well. Everything, the weight, temperature and height … is normal.”
The UN’s heavily-hyped Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which were approved by more than 160 world leaders at a summit meeting in September, are an integral part of the world body’s post-2015 development agenda, including the eradication of hunger and poverty by 2030.
Twice a week, 20-year-old Kulsum Begam, a young mother of two, spends over three hours gossiping with the neighbours.
There is a scramble for unoccupied land in Africa, but this time it is not British, Portuguese, French or other colonialists racing to occupy the continent’s vacant land – it is the continent’s urban dwellers fast turning to urban farming amid the rampant food shortages that have not spared them.
A new grassroots initiative born in the northern England city of Leeds has set itself the ambitious goal of ending food waste, once and for all.
“Poverty has become part of me,” says 13-year-old Aminata Kabangele from the Democratic Republic of Congo. “I have learned to live with the reality that nobody cares for me.”
After 15 years of trying to meet the targets set out to address extreme poverty, the 193 member states of the United Nations have almost reached consensus on a more broad-reaching group of goals.
Sipian Lesan bends to attend to the Vangueria infausta or African medlar plant that he planted almost two years ago. He takes great care not to damage the soft, velvety, acorn-shaped buds of this hardy and drought-resistant plant. ”All over here it is dry,” says the 51-year-old Samburu semi-nomadic pastoralist.
With the enthusiasm of the recent Financing for Development conference behind us, the central issues and many layers of what is at stake are now firmly in sight. In fact, a complex issue like hunger, which is a long standing development priority, remains an everyday battle for almost 795 million people worldwide.
By the end of this year, the 15-year time frame for the Millennium Development Goals will end, with good progress on several indicators, but limited achievements on others.