World set to miss UN hunger reduction goal: UN

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The world is on course to miss United Nations hunger reduction targets set in 2000, despite successes in curbing extreme poverty, a UN report said Thursday.

In 2000, the world body's 192 member states launched eight Millennium Development Goals to be achieved by 2015 and the 2011 progress report showed mixed results on the first target of eradicating extreme poverty and hunger.

The first key goal includes halving the proportion of people who are undernourished but the figure has only dropped from 20 percent in 1990 to 16 percent and has been stagnating for years.

"The proportion of people in the developing world who went hungry in 2005-2007 remained stable at 16 percent, despite significant reductions in extreme poverty," the report said.

"Based on this trend, and in light of the economic crisis and rising food prices, it will be difficult to meet the hunger-reduction target in many regions of the developing world," it said.

The alarming trend on hunger reduction comes as the Horn of Africa is experiencing what the UN has described as its "worst drought in 60 years", affecting some 10 million people.

The UN progress report expressed concern over the fact that the proportion of people going hungry worldwide was not dropping dramatically despite a significant reduction of extreme poverty was being achieved.

"The disconnect between poverty reduction and the persistence of hunger has brought renewed attention to the mechanisms governing access to food in the developing world," the UN report said.

It added the UN's food agency would undertake a sweeping policy review this year.

The UN took heart in the fact that sustained growth in some developing countries, particularly in Asia, looked set to help the world meet the target of halving the proportion of people living on less than a dollar a day.

Despite the economic and financial crises, "current trends suggest that the momentum of growth in the developing world remains strong enough to sustain the progress needed to reach the global poverty-reduction target."

The global poverty rate is projected to fall below 15 percent by 2015, significantly below the target of 23 percent, said the UN, citing data from the World Bank.

"The fastest growth and sharpest reductions in poverty continue to be found in eastern Asia, particularly in China, where the poverty rate is expected to fall to under 5 percent by 2015," said the UN.

In India, the poverty rate is to plunge from 51 percent in 1990 to around 22 percent by 2015.

UN chief Ban Ki-moon underlined significant strides towards achieving the goals, but warned however that there remains "a long way to go."

© 2011 AFP

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