By Michele Learner, Bread for the World Institute
It’s an exciting week in hunger advocacy, culminating in World Food Day this Friday, October 16. Here are details of some of the week’s happenings.
Asma Lateef, our director here at Bread for the World Institute, will be speaking on a panel on Nutrition and Public Health this Thursday, October 15, as part of George Mason University’s Second Annual Summit on Global Food Security and Health. Her topic is “Recent Developments in International Nutrition: Progress and Challenges.”
Several Bread staff will be in Des Moines, Iowa, this week for events surrounding the 2015 World Food Prize. This year’s World Food Prize laureate is Sir Fazle Hasan Abed, founder and chair of BRAC (originally the Bangladesh Rural Advancement Committee). The selection committee noted his “unparalleled achievement in building a unique, integrated development organization that many have hailed as the most effective anti-poverty organization in the world… The scale and impact of BRAC’s work in Bangladesh and 10 other countries is unprecedented.”
Notably for our work here at the Institute, the award announcement goes on to say that Sir Fazle and BRAC, which he founded in 1972, “pioneered a new approach to development that has effectively and sustainably addressed the interconnectedness between hunger and poverty… Sir Fazle has broken new ground by melding scalable development models, scientific innovation, and local participation to confront the complex causes of poverty, hunger, and powerlessness.”
Senior Institute policy analyst Faustine Wabwire, in Iowa for events surrounding the World Food Prize, the 2015 Borlaug Dialogue International Symposium, October 14-16. This year’s conference brings together a “faculty” of international leaders, experts, and scientists for a three-day “course” on the fundamentals of global food security. In keeping with BRAC’s mission and in recognition of the key role of women in food security, there will be a special focus on supporting women and girls in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) education. Faustine will also serve as a faculty expert at the Global Youth Institute on October 17.
The 10th annual Global Hunger Index was released October 12. Produced by IFPRI (the International Food Policy Research Institute), the report says that conflict is the cause of devastating hunger in the Central African Republic (CAR), which tops the world’s list of hungry countries with a score of 46.9, meaning that nearly half the population is malnourished. In second place was Chad, which is frequently the target of attacks from the Nigerian terror group Boko Haram. Other countries with “alarming” levels of hunger are Zambia, East Timor, Sierra Leone, Haiti, Madagascar and Afghanistan.
Yet overall, global hunger has fallen by 27 percent since 2000. And in countries where civil wars ended in the 1990s and 2000s, hunger has fallen significantly. The report cites Angola, Ethiopia, and Rwanda as examples.
On October 13, the Brookings Institution and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation will launch the Brookings Report and Database on Ending Rural Hunger at the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) in Rome. The launch is in conjunction with the celebration of World Food Day 2015 at the Expo Milano. The new database will help map needs and actions so that efforts to achieve Sustainable Development Goal 2 (the “end hunger” goal) are more targeted and strategic. SDG 2 calls for the end of hunger and malnutrition and a doubling of both agricultural productivity and small-scale farmer incomes.
Michele Learner is the associate editor at Bread for the World Institute.