DECEMBER 14, 2013
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About the Author:
Shenggen Fan (樊胜根) has been Director General of the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) since 2009. He joined IFPRI in 1995 as a Research Fellow, conducting extensive research on pro-poor development strategies in Africa, Asia, and the Middle East. He led IFPRI’s program on public investment before becoming the Director of the Institute’s Development Strategy and Governance Division in 2005. He is the Chairman of the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council on Food Security and Nutrition. Dr. Fan received a PhD in Applied Economics from the University of Minnesota, and Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from Nanjing Agricultural University in China.
Tolulope Olofinbiyi is Program Manager at the International Food Policy Research Institute. Tolu has worked with Development Alternatives Inc. in Bethesda., MD and has an extensive background working in the agribusiness sector in Nigeria. She received her BA degree in Agricultural Economics from University of Agriculture, Abeokuta in Nigeria, MAB degree in Agribusiness from Texas A&M University, and MALD degree in International Affairs (development economics) from the Fletcher School, Tufts University. She is also a PhD candidate studying development economics and political economy at the Fletcher School at Tufts University.
Sinafikeh Gemessa, an Ethiopian national, joined IFPRI in July 2012 as a Senior Research Assistant in the Director General’s Office. Sinafikeh received BS in Statistics and MS in Economics from Addis Ababa University and a Masters in International Development from Harvard University. He first joined IFPRI in late 2008 as a research officer in the Ethiopia Strategy Support Program before he left for his graduate study at Harvard. He has experience working in agricultural development, and food and nutrition policies in Ethiopia and Indonesia.
Ending Hunger Sustainably by 2025: What Will It Take?
As the deadline for the Millennium Development Goals approaches, policy dialogue on the post-2015 development agenda, including the upcoming Sustainable Development Goals, has gained strong momentum. Certainly, substantial progress has been made towards ending hunger and malnutrition worldwide, but it is largely uneven and much more needs to be done. Nearly 870 million people remain undernourished and Africa, south of the Sahara and South Asia remain major hotspots. Moreover, over 2 billion people suffer from micronutrient deficiencies and obesity and overweight, particularly in urban areas and among children, are increasing.
Although progress in reducing hunger and malnutrition trails behind that of poverty, countries, such as Brazil, China, Ghana, Indonesia, Peru, Thailand, Vietnam, have taken large strides in enhancing food and nutrition security. Strategies employed by these countries differ, however. China and Vietnam, for example, stimulated broad-based growth by focusing initially on improved incentives for smallholder agriculture. In Brazil and Peru, the focus was largely on social policies. Yet, country strategies have not worked universally. In India, for example, hunger and malnutrition remain significant challenges despite remarkable economic growth.
This paper argues that we can end global hunger and malnutrition sustainably by 2025, but more ambitious, precise, and time-bound goals must be set. The impressive experiences of successful countries in the last two decades suggest that this is possible if other developing countries follow a similar trend. To better track progress, it is time to revisit the measurement of hunger and malnutrition, and particularly rethink the definition of nutrition to include dietary quality. A solid monitoring and evaluation system, including methodologically sound indicators and innovative and cost-effective tools are required. Significant investments in frequent data updates and capacity building are also required. Lastly, these goals cannot be achieved without moving towards a more effective and inclusive global partnership. For this, new integrated approaches across sectors, disciplines, and actors will be crucial.
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