United Nations FAO: Most Of Asia-Pacific Nations May Not Achieve Zero Hunger Goal By 2030

Friday, December 9th, 2016 | 630 Views

Based on the 2010-2015 rates of the 19 countries being monitored in Asia Pacific for prevalence of undernourishment rates (PoU), the United Nations (UN) Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) predicts only two of the 19 countries will be able to achieve the UN’s second sustainable development goal (SDG) of achieving zero hunger by 2030.

Results seem slightly less bleak when the 19 countries’ best historical reduction rates between 1991-2015 for prevalence of undernourishment rates (PoU) were used; nine of them would be able to achieve this goal.

But, ultimately, the “2016 Asia and the Pacific Regional Overview of Food Insecurity—Investing in a Zero Hunger Generation” report suggests that more still has to be done in order to increase the chances of the countries achieving this goal.

The threat of food insecurity is very real, and especially with the world’s population expected to reach 9 billion by 2030, current burdens of malnutrition, obesity and hidden hunger are bound to escalate in time if nothing more is to be done at present.

The report considers rates in 19 countries: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Maldives, Mongolia, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, Philippines, Solomon Islands, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Timor-Leste, Vanuatu, and Vietnam.

When looking at the trends in PoU, data shows that most countries made reductions. However, only some countries experienced sustained reductions with no reversals. These are: China, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam.

Despite this, there is still hope for the other countries. The data shows that rate of reduction for the best five years during 1991-2015 and the latest five years (2010-2015) was typically twice as good (or more) than performance over the past five years.

“This is reassuring in that a large proportion of the countries had indeed made impressive performances in one period or the other,” the report states.

The FAO still believes that the countries are still able to achieve the SDG. “The fact that there is substantial variability in performance (both across countries and across time within any given country) also means there is ample opportunity to build on experiences within the region to accelerate progress.”

Rather than focusing just on economic growth (though it is indeed a necessary condition to deliver improved nutritional and other social outcomes”, there is a need to growth agriculture as well to reduce undernourishment, and there needs to be public investment in provision of primary education and quality health care, nutrition education, and providing sanitation, sewage and safe drinking water.