World hunger has dropped below 800 million, or about one in nine worldwide, largely thanks to the Global South's progress in tackling food insecurity, a new United Nations report revealed Wednesday.
The 2015 State of Food Insecurity report found that 167 million fewer people are hungry today than a decade ago. With the reduced global total now sitting at 795 million people, the next goal for the U.N.'s three food agencies is complete eradication of global hunger.
“We must be the Zero Hunger generation,” said Food and Agriculture Organization Director General Jose Graziano da Silva. “That goal should be mainstreamed into all policy interventions and at the heart of the new sustainable development agenda to be established this year.”
The report applauded 72 out of 129 developing countries for achieving the Millennium Development Goal target of reducing the number of hungry people by at least 50 percent.
Latin American and Caribbean countries are among those greatly reducing the prevalence of hunger. South America has succeeded in cutting undernourishment more than in half, bringing the rate below 5 percent. Progress has also been made in Central America, albeit more modestly, where undernourishment has been reduced by about 38 percent.
The advances in food security have been achieved despite the growing world population, increase in extreme weather and natural disasters worldwide, and global economic crises.
The report highlights support for small-scale and family agriculture, inclusive economic growth, and strengthened social protections as key factors in fostering food security, while also recognizing the diversity of possible strategies for tackling hunger in different contexts.
"If we truly wish to create a world free from poverty and hunger,” said International Fund for Agricultural Development President Kanayo F. Nwanze, “then we must make it a priority to invest in the rural areas of developing countries where most of the world's poorest and hungriest people live."