Halving Hunger: Still Possible? Building a rescue package to set the MDGs back on track
Ten years after the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) agreed by world leaders became the greatest-ever commitment for a 'more peaceful, prosperous and just future', progress is slow and many hard-won achievements have been undone after the global food, fuel and economic crises. Unless an urgent rescue package is developed to accelerate fulfillment of all the MDGs, we are likely to witness the greatest collective failure in history. Along with the goals on maternal health and water and sanitation, MDG 1 - eradicate extreme poverty and hunger - is one of the most off-track MDGs. In 2009, the number of people going to sleep hungry every day reached an all-time high of more than 1 billion- most of them children and women. The fact that these goals remain so far from success puts the whole MDG initiative at risk. Halving hunger must be one of the top priorities for urgent action at the MDG Summit in September 2010. The only chance of avoiding failure is a rescue plan for all MDGs that includes the necessary measures, both political and financial. Because halving hunger is still possible. Some countries have achieved tremendous advances in hunger reduction through a combination of effective policies and investment. Malawi, for example, is no longer dependent on food aid and has even become an exporter after it facilitated access to subsidized seeds and fertilizers to small producers. And Brazil has made the fight against hunger a state policy, combining social protection programmes with support for family-based agriculture.