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2013 Hunger Report

Bread for the World has published it’s 2013 Hunger Report. Here are a few highlights to stimulate you to learn more and become an advocate.

The 2000s were a decade of extraordinary progress against global poverty. More people escaped poverty during the 2000s than any other decade in history. More importantly, progress occurred in every major region of the world. It may not be possible to establish a direct causal link, but it is no coincidence that this progress coincided with global efforts to reach the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). When the MDGs were launched in the year 2000, leaders from every country in the world pledged their support. Few could have known at the time how influential these goals would become.

Since 2000, the MDGs have been the dominant global development framework, and they have galvanized public support around the world for ending hunger and extreme poverty. Scarcely a summit passes where heads of state don’t renew their support for the MDGs. Civil society groups, particularly faith-based ones, have been loyal advocates of the MDGs, dedicated to holding government leaders accountable for following through on their pledges.

MDG 1 calls for eradicating hunger and extreme poverty with a target of halving the proportion of people who live in hunger and poverty by 2015. Other goals include achieving universal primary school enrollment, reducing child and maternal mortality,
promoting gender equality, reversing the spread of infectious diseases, and improving environmental sustainability.

The MDGs are the global community’s most holistic approach yet to human development. Before the MDGs, the conventional “development” yardstick was a nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Clearly, growth in GDP is important for development. But progress against hunger and extreme poverty does not automatically accompany economic growth. Today, most people living below the international poverty line ($1.25 per day) reside in middle-income countries, illustrating how economic growth does not always reach people at the bottom.

In 2012, the World Bank announced that the percentage of people living below the international poverty line had already fallen by more than half, thus achieving the 2015 target. The hunger target has not been achieved yet—but it is within reach if all countries are willing to step up and do their part.

A post-MDG global development framework should include a bull’s-eye goal to end hunger and poverty in every country in the world by 2040.

  • The post-MDG framework should be developed through a process that is inclusive and transparent.
  • The United States should meet the commitments it made to work with other donor countries to improve aid effectiveness and how donors partner with one another to reduce hunger and poverty.
  • All donors should support country-led strategies, meaning strategies worked out by governments in developing countries in consultation with civil society and other domestic partners.
  • Donors should focus on strengthening local capacity to achieve lasting results.
  • Donors should focus on building resilience in developing countries so that poor people can weather food-price volatility and other shocks.
  • Agricultural development assistance and support for social protection systems will help mitigate the impact of shocks on poverty, hunger, and malnutrition.
  • The United States should support efforts in developing countries to provide productive employment to large and growing youth populations.
  • U.S. partnerships with major immigrant-sending countries in Latin America should respond to poverty and hunger as primary causes of unauthorized immigration.
  • A post-2015 global development framework should address climate change within the context of a clear overall focus on poverty.
  • A global development framework should explicitly support good governance, effective leadership, and the institutions that make them possible.
  • The president should propose a time-bound goal to end hunger and poverty in the United States and develop a plan to achieve it, and he should also establish an office within the administration to coordinate national, state, and local efforts.

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