2013 Global Hunger Index Launch -- The Callenge of Hunger "Building Resilience to Achieve Food and Nutrition Security" published by International Food Policy Research Insititute, Concern Worldwide and Welthungerhilfe.
Global averages mask dramatic differences among regions and countries.Compared with the 1990 score, the 2013 GHI is 23 percent lower in Africa south of the Sahara,34 percent lower in South Asia, and28 percent lower in the Near East and North Africa.Progress in East and Southeast Asia and Latin America and the Caribbean was even more remarkable, where GHI scores feel by 50 percent or more.
Ghana is the only country from Africa south of the Sahara to appear among the 10 best performers in terms of improved GHI scores between the 1990 GHI and 2013 GHI.
Vietnam has made impressive progress in reducing hunger since 1990. It reduced the proportion of undernourished from 47 percent to only 9 percent.It lowered underweight in children from more than 40 percent around 1990 to 12 percent in 2011.And it more than halved the under-five mortality rate.How did it achieve so much?The country put nutrition high on its agenda, developed and implemented a plan for preventing protein-energy malnutrition among children, achieved high coverage of immunization and other primary healthcare services, granted targeted health subsidies to the poor, and successfully administered social security programs.
The lower the intensity of the shock, the more likely the household, community, or system will be able to resist it effectively, absorbing its impacts without major changes. A somewhat larger shock or stressor may require incremental adaptive changes, such as new farming techniques or taking out loans.Much larger shocks may warrant even bigger changes that permanently alter the system or structure in question. For example, droughts in the Horn of Africa may push people out of pastoralism and into sedentary agriculture or urban occupations because they can no longer rebuilt their herds.
This slide shows how in theory three hypothetical African pastoral communities fare before, during, and after drought.Community A is relatively resilient. It has three assets that make it resilient:A large cattle herd (large enough to rebuild after drought)The ability to graze and water its animals over a large and diverse geographical area gives it the adaptive capacity to move its animals to less drought-affected areas (changing its migration routes, if needed)Remittances sent home from communitiy members who left to work in the capital city after earlier droughts have increased the community’s transformative capacity. Community B is on the path to increasing vulnerability.This community is less able to absorb the impacts of the drought by moving cattle and rebuilding its herd. It may resort to violence to acquire herds, grazing land, and water resources of other groups.Community C is becoming even poorer and more vulnerable.When drought strikes, this community does not have many options. It has a much smaller herd and more limited grazing and watering mobility (reduced by a mix of land enclosures, tribal conflict, and irrigation developments). It becomes dependent on emergency relief and members switch to a new, less lucrative livelihood.
Food aid receipts can be used as a proxy for resilience. Whereas food aid receipts remain high in the Horn of Africa and the Sahel, successes in Bangladesh, Malawi, and Zambia show that building resilience within a generation is a real possibility.The data reflect the standard narrative of “permanent crisis” in the Sahel and the Horn of Africa, where food aid receipts were roughly as large in 2008-2011 as they were about 20 years ago.In contrast, Malawi and Zambia have seen improvements in recent years due in part to controversial fertilizer subsidy programs that expanded maize production.Bangladesh has made great progress in reducing its dependency on food aid.Its 85% drop in food aid receipts from the early 1990s to 2008-2011 is consistent with the country’s dramatic economic and social achievements, which include rapid agricultural growth (through new crop varieties and other modern inputs), sharp reductions in fertility rates, dramatic expansion of education (especially for females), a microfinance revolution, and sustained job creation outside agriculture.While we have much to learn about why some vulnerable regions make so little progress, some shock-prone countries seems to have advanced. SSuccess stories like Bangladesh, Malawi, and Zambia show that building individual, community, and national resilience within a generation is a real possibility.
2013 Global Hunger Index Launch
The Challenge of Hunger
TO ACHIEVE FOOD AND
Why a Global Hunger Index?
• To raise awareness of regional and country
differences in hunger
• To show progress over time
• To help learn from successes and failures in
• To provide incentives to act and improve the
• To focus on one major hunger-related topic
• Ranking is a powerful tool
• Other sectors use it successfully, too
• It gets public and professional
• It can spur competition
• A special subject can be highlighted
The GHI measures three dimensions of hunger
• Child underweight
• Child mortality
age five (%)
under age five
The GHI ranks countries on a 100-point scale
• An increase in a country’s GHI
score means the hunger
situation is worsening; a
improvement in the country’s
• Minimum (zero) and
maximum (100) values are not
observed in practice.
About the 2013 GHI
• The 2013 GHI is calculated for 120 developing
countries and countries in transition for which
data on the three indicators of hunger are
• This year’s GHI reflects data from 2008 to 2012—
the most recent country-level data available on
the three GHI measures. It is thus a snapshot of
the recent past.
Key findings (1)
• According to the 2013 GHI, hunger on a global
scale remains “serious.” Nineteen countries have
levels of hunger that are “alarming” or
• The 2013 world GHI fell by 34 percent from the
1990 world GHI, from a score of 20.8 to 13.8.
• South Asia and Africa south of the Sahara have
the highest levels of hunger with regional scores
of 20.7 and 19.2, respectively.
Key findings (2)
• From the 1990 GHI to the 2013 GHI, 23
countries reduced their scores by 50 percent
• In terms of absolute progress, Angola,
Bangladesh, Cambodia, Ethiopia, Ghana,
Malawi, Niger, Rwanda, Thailand, and Vietnam
saw the largest improvements in their scores
from the 1990 to 2013 GHI.
Good news, but …
• The GHI has declined somewhat since 1990, but ...
… it remains “serious” at 13.8.
• South Asia reduced its GHI score significantly
between 1990 and 1996, but ...
… could not maintain this rapid progress.
• South Asia in the 1990s made more progress than
Africa south of the Sahara, but …
… has fallen back since; its 2013 score is now higher
than that of Africa south of the Sahara.
for food and nutrition security
• For the long-term development of
communities, regions, and countries, poor
and vulnerable people need greater
• Building their resilience will involve
boosting food and nutrition security.
• According to one framework for resilience,
three different responses are linked to
different intensities of shock or change.
Resilience involves absorptive, adaptive,
and transformative capacities
Resilience in three hypothetical
Building community resilience
Fostering community resilience to food and nutrition
crises in Haiti
Community resilience in the Sahel and Horn of
Selected policy recommendations for the
international development, humanitarian, and
• Break down the institutional, financial, and
conceptual walls separating development and
humanitarian assistance in donor and UN agencies to
achieve greater synergies in strategies and
• Support a coordinated approach to monitoring
resilience-building measures and building an
evidence base on the impact and effectiveness of
• Support a pro-poor resilience approach.
Selected policy recommendations for
in food-insecure countries
• Develop national approaches to food and nutrition
security that are resilient to shocks and other
• Encourage and facilitate a multisectoral approach to
resilience, coordinating plans and programs across
• Evaluate national sectoral strategies and action plans
using disaster-proofing and resilience-building
Selected policy recommendations for
development and humanitarian practitioners
• Focus on improving maternal and child nutrition in
developing regions, with interventions to address the
immediate and underlying causes of undernutrition.
• Support positive coping mechanisms that people
already use, such as community-level savings
networks or banks.
• NGOs and their national partners should use their
long-term experience in development programming
more proactively to lobby for resilience-enhancing
• Report available in English,
German, French, and Italian
• Download from
• Or download the report on
Google Play, Google Books,
Amazon, and iTunes.
• See the report and related
content through a free IFPRI