One in seven suffer malnourishment: UN food agency

Children from a poor neighbourhood in Santo Domingo play with sand. One in seven people suffer from malnourishment, the head of the UN's food agency said Wednesday in a report released ahead of a summit on sustainable development to be held in Rio de Janeiro June 20-22.

One in seven people suffer from malnourishment, the head of the UN's food agency said Wednesday in a report released ahead of a summit on sustainable development to be held in Rio de Janeiro June 20-22.

"We cannot call development sustainable while this situation persists, while nearly one out of every seven men, women and children are left behind, victims of undernourishment," said FAO director general Jose Graziano da Silva.

"At the Rio Summit we have the golden opportunity to explore the convergence between the agendas of food security and sustainability," he said, referring to the difficulties in making sure that the poor have sustained access to food.

The report calls on governments to invest in infrastructure and protect the rights of the poor to .

Three quarters of the world's poor live in rural areas and most of them depend on agriculture and related activities for their livelihoods, it said.

Access to natural resources -- such as land, water or forests -- is essential for the 2.5 billion who produce food for their own consumption and income.

"Hunger puts in motion a vicious cycle of reduced productivity, deepening poverty, slow economic development and resource degradation," the report said.

The FAO called for and production systems to "achieve more with less," and said it was necessary to shift to nutritious diets with a smaller , as well as reducing food losses and waste.

Global food losses and waste amount to 1.3 billion tonnes per year, roughly one-third of the world food production for , it said, and correspond to over 10 percent of the world's total caloric .

"In 2050 there will be an expected of 9 billion, with increased incomes and rising food demand. Pressure on the world's agricultural and food systems and the resources they use will grow," the agency said.

"Worse, unless purposeful action is taken, the increase in production of 60 percent needed to meet effective demand will still leave behind over 300 million people who are expected to suffer from chronic hunger in 2050."

The Rio conference comes 40 years after a Stockholm conference on the environment in 1972, 20 years after a Rio conference on development in 1992 and 10 years after a summit on in Johannesburg in 2002.

The themes of the so-called Rio+20 conference next month were laid down in a United Nations General Assembly resolution adopted in December 2009, and aim to renew political engagement in sustainable development.

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

UN, Brazil to host Internet debate on green planet

May 18, 2012

The United Nations and the Brazilian government are launching an Internet debate around 10 themes for a green planet to elicit suggestions from experts and the public for next month's Rio+20 summit.

Energy, food security to dominate Rio+20: envoy

Oct 13, 2011

Boosting energy efficiency and renewables and providing food for a future world of eight billion will dominate next year's UN Rio+20 conference, the talks' co-coordinator said on Thursday.

UN panel says retool world economy for sustainability

Jan 30, 2012

The world can no longer afford to ignore the environmental cost of economic growth and must redefine the very concept of national wealth, a UN panel of heads of state and environment ministers said Monday.

Recommended for you

Asia's rising tobacco epidemic

3 hours ago

Smoke-filled bars and packed cancer wards reflect decades of neglect of no-smoking policies in Asia, where both high- and low-income countries are belatedly waking up to a growing tobacco-related health ...

Study: Americans endure unwanted care near death

13 hours ago

Americans suffer needless discomfort and undergo unwanted and costly care as they die, in part because of a medical system ruled by "perverse incentives" for aggressive care and not enough conversation about what people want, ...

Failed Medicare payments law remains relevant

14 hours ago

In a new commentary in the journal JAMA Surgery, Dr. Eli Adashi recounts what he and other advocates saw as merits of the originally bipartisan Sustainable Growth Rate Repeal and Medicare Provider Paymen ...

User comments