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2012 Global Hunger Index
The Challenge of Hunger: Ensuring Sustainable Food Security under Land, Water, and Energy Stresses
12 October 2012


This is the seventh edition of the annual Global Hunger Index, prepared by the International Food Policy Research Institute in collaboration with Welthungerhilfe and Concern Worldwide.

The Index is calculated for 120 developing and transition countries using three indicators - the proportion of undernourished people in the population, the prevalence of underweight in children, and the child mortality rate - to capture various aspects of hunger. This year's report finds some improvement: the overall Global Hunger Index score has fallen by 26 percent since 1990. A few countries, including Turkey, Mexico, and Ghana have made dramatic improvements, reducing their scores by more than 50 percent since 1990. Twenty countries, however, have alarming or extremely alarming levels of hunger, with Burundi, Eritrea, and Haiti scoring the worst. The need for action is still great.

This year's report focuses on land, water, and energy scarcity. As natural resources have become scarcer - owing to population growth, higher incomes, unsustainable resource consumption, poor policies, and weak institutions - sustainable food security has become inextricably linked to developments in the land, water, and energy sectors. If we are to achieve sustainable food security in the face of resource scarcity, we will need to take action on three fronts:
  • First, steps should be taken to improve the governance of natural resources by, for example, securing poor people’s land and water rights, phasing out subsidies for biofuels, and creating pro-poor market and trade policies.
  • Second, efforts should be made to scale up technical approaches that lead to more efficient use of land, water, and energy.
  • Third, action should be taken to address the drivers of natural resource scarcity by improving access to family-planning services, increasing women's access to education, promoting sustainable lifestyles, and mitigating and adapting to climate change.
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