Every person has a right to food, according to Article 25 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The United Nations (UN) wrote this sentence down in 1948. In its report published in early October, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) says that in 2013 842 million people all over the world suffer from hunger every day and are chronically undernourished.
Although the figure has fallen by 26 million compared to those published in the annual report for the period 2010-2012, the situation is still disastrous. Especially in countries of southern Africa and in large parts of Asia, many people have to get by without the most basic of food supplies.
The international community aims to halve the number of people suffering from hunger by 2015. This is the first of its eight Millennium Development Goals. As its third-largest contributor, Germany supports FAO in the implementation of its projects. For example, the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development provides approx. €700 million each year to promote projects contributing to food security. One of these projects is improving the livelihoods of people in the dry north-east region of Uganda. This programme offers “cash for work” in areas such as building roads and irrigation systems, enabling people to earn money quickly to buy food. Malnourished children are being cared for and women are receiving information about hygiene, breastfeeding and a healthy diet.
In addition to this practical development work, research on food-supply systems is also playing a major role. Numerous projects at German universities and research institutions are studying how food security in developing countries can be ensured in the future. One of these is an international partnership project called “Urban Food Plus”, which is coordinated by the Institute for Social and Cultural Anthropology at the University of Göttingen. Together with the Universities of Kassel, Bochum and Freiburg, and numerous partner institutes, the scientists are researching agricultural production systems in West African countries.
United Nations World Food Day on 16 October 2013.