815 million people, accounting for 11 percent of the world’s population, suffer from hunger according to a recent report published by the United Nations, World Food Programme, World Health Organization and the UN Children’s Fund. This figure represents an increase of 38 million people over the prior year, primarily due to growing political conflict and climate related issues. This setback should remind us that to end hunger by 2030, a goal established with the adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals by the United Nations in September 2015, we must heighten our resolve and not lose sight of the fact that ending hunger is possible.
We are making progress toward ending hunger, the world’s most pressing and solvable problem. Despite the recent setback, the world remains on a trajectory to end hunger by 2030. Two decades ago, more than 23 percent of the world’s population was malnourished, which is now reduced to 11 percent. Economic growth and focusing on solutions such as increasing local food production and promoting greater access to nutritious food, healthcare and education have worked to reduce the number of those who go to bed hungry each night.
Rise Against Hunger is focused on four main solutions. To end hunger we must: nourish lives, empower communities, provide emergency relief and grow the movement to end hunger. Through these efforts, Rise Against Hunger’s vision of a world without hunger is becoming a reality for those we serve, which in 2016 counted for more than 1 million people, and I was honored to share our outcomes at the recent United Nations General Assembly meeting as a speaker at the SDG Media Zone.
Our biggest challenge is that not everyone believes or is aware that hunger can be solved. Our experience, however, is that once people get involved they are surprised by the powerful impact they can make. In 2016 alone, Rise Against Hunger engaged more than 376,000 volunteers around the world, producing more than 67 million meals that were used to support developmental programs such as school feeding, vocational training, early childhood development and medical clinics in 43 countries.
On World Food Day, let us be reminded of what the world has accomplished toward ending hunger, what each of us can achieve through working together, and that our dedication to ending hunger is enabling millions of people around the world to contribute to our society. We have the resources to end hunger. Let us take action to end hunger by 2030…This is possible!