The State Of Food Insecurity In The World 1999


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Published in 1999 by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations Viale delle Terme di Caracalla, 00100 Rome, Italy

The designations employed and the presentation of material in this publication do not imply the expression of any opinion whatsoever on the part of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations concerning the legal status of any country, territory, city or area or its authorities, or concerning the delimitation of its frontiers or boundaries. The designations ÒdevelopedÓ and ÒdevelopingÓ are intended for statistical convenience and do not necessarily express a judgement about the stage reached by a particular country, territory or area in the development process.

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying or otherwise, without the prior permission of the copyright owner. Applications for such permission, with a statement of the purpose and extent of the reproduction, should be addressed to the Director, Information Division, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, Viale delle Terme di Caracalla, 00100 Rome, Italy.

© FAO 1999

ISBN 92-5-104328-0

Printed in the UK

As cover, from left to right: Banson; Paiboon Pattanasitubol/
UNEP/Topham; Peter Beard/The Time is Always Now.

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The State Of Food Insecurity In The World 1999

  1. 1. food insecurity: when people must live with hunger and fear starvation The state of 1999 food insecurity in the world
  2. 2. food insecurity: when people must live with hunger and fear starvation The state of 1999 food insecurity in the world
  3. 3. About this report his is the first edition of The State available on progress and reversals about food access with analysis of data T of Food Insecurity in the World. It provides the latest estimates of the number of chronically hungry people in the developing world and introduces the first comparable estimates during the 1990s and highlights countries that have achieved the greatest gains or suffered the most severe setbacks over the past two decades. In addition, the report analyses some about weight and height of young children. Finally it draws lessons from what has been learned thus far and offers some pointers for the way ahead. The State of Food Insecurity in the ever made of the number of people who go of the underlying factors that contributed World draws on FAO’s ongoing work hungry in the industrialized countries and most to gains and setbacks in these programme to monitor and analyse food countries in transition. countries and examines the impact of insecurity and the nutritional status of This and subsequent editions of The short-term “shocks”, such as war, people worldwide. This work represents State of Food Insecurity in the World natural disaster or financial crisis. It part of FAO's contribution to the Food will serve as regular progress reports on also looks at national efforts to identify Insecurity and Vulnerability Information global and national efforts to reach the population groups particularly prone and Mapping Systems (FIVIMS) initiative goal set by the World Food Summit in 1996 to food insecurity and malnutrition. that is being established at global and – to reduce the number of undernourished And it probes the differences in our national levels (see box). people in the world by half by the year understanding of hunger and nutritional 2015. The report provides the first data status that result from comparing data Food Insecurity and Vulnerability Information and Mapping Systems In order to take effective action to reduce hunger, stakeholders IAWG-FIVIMS and decision-makers need reliable, detailed information about the extent of the problem and the people it affects. The World membership Food Summit mandated the establishment of a Food Insecurity and Vulnerability Information and Mapping Systems programme to provide that information. The FIVIMS initiative draws on many Australian Agency for International Development (AUSAID) existing information systems, such as crop forecasting and early Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) warning systems, household food security and nutritional German Agency for Technical Cooperation (GTZ) information systems, and vulnerability assessment and mapping United States Agency for International Development (USAID) systems. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) FIVIMS operates on both national and global levels. Nationally, International Labour Organisation (ILO) it provides a link for existing information systems that gather United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs and analyse relevant data, ranging from health and climate to (UNDESA) markets and household food security. Globally, it is being Office of the Coordinator for Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) coordinated by an inter-agency working group (IAWG), with FAO United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) as its secretariat. The IAWG supports the national-level systems United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and is working to establish a common database and information United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) exchange network. Its members include United Nations United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) agencies, bilateral aid agencies and international or non- World Bank (WB) governmental organizations. World Food Programme (WFP) World Health Organization (WHO) The immediate objectives of FIVIMS are to: World Meteorological Organization (WMO) Administrative Committee on Coordination/Subcommittee • increase attention to food security issues; on Nutrition (ACC/SCN) • improve the quality of food security-related data and analysis; International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) • promote donor collaboration on food security information Centro Internacional de Agricultura Tropical (CIAT) systems at country level; Helen Keller International (HKI) • encourage better action programmes on poverty and hunger; Save the Children Fund (SCF/UK) • improve access to information through networking and sharing. World Resources Institute (WRI) 2 The state of food insecurity in the world 1999
  4. 4. Contents 4 Foreword Towards the World Food Summit target 6 Undernourishment around the world 6 Counting and locating hungry people 10 Progress and setbacks in developing countries 11 Nutritional status and vulnerability 11 Well-being of young children 13 Incidence of malnutrition in vulnerable areas 15 Vulnerable people – who and why 16 Profiles of vulnerability 18 Environmental potential and constraints 20 Dynamics of change 20 Factors that bring about change 21 Economic growth spurs improvements in food security status for most Asian nations 22 Mixed picture of progress and setback characterizes Latin America and the Caribbean 23 War-ravaged Afghanistan loses ground while Morocco leads good performers 24 Several West African nations register gains but problems grow worse elsewhere in Africa 25 Recent shocks: floods, drought, war and financial collapse threaten progress 28 The way ahead Meeting the challenge 29 Tables The state of food insecurity in the world 1999 3
  5. 5. Foreword Towards the World Food Summit target hree years ago, leaders from progress is required, averaging geographically isolated ethnic T 186 countries gathered in Rome and made a solemn commitment – to halve the number of hungry people by the year 2015. Is the world living up to the reductions of at least 20 million a year in the developing world. Hunger is often associated with developing countries. While that is true, this report provides statistical minorities, we cannot forget that they are human beings, with individual needs and aspirations. In poor villages and neighbourhoods across the world, the scene is the same: promise it made at the 1996 World evidence that the problem is not people working from sunrise to Food Summit? limited to developing countries. sunset dealing with harsh climates, New estimates for 1995/97 show For the first time, FAO presents tired earth and the effects of fragile that around 790 million people in the aggregate estimates of the number economies, labouring constantly to developing world do not have enough of undernourished in developed provide for themselves and their to eat. This is more than the total countries. The resulting figure, families – striving for little more than populations of North America and 34 million people, confirms that even enough food to keep themselves alive. Europe combined. The “continent” of developed countries are confronted That is why we must focus not only the hungry includes men, women with the challenge of overcoming food on abstract global numbers but on and children who may never reach insecurity. Although many of these the faces and places that make up their full physical and mental 34 million people live in countries that those numbers. In calculations and potential because they do not have have been undergoing major political predictions that use variables of enough to eat – many of them may and economic transition in the 1990s, population growth, output rates, even die because they have been pockets of hunger are to be found in declining resource bases, political denied the basic human right to food. all parts of the world. changes, devastation from diseases This state of affairs is unacceptable. It is my conviction that there is no or the effects of natural and Yes, the number of undernourished reason not to have a hunger-free manmade disasters, we must always people has decreased by 40 million world some time in the next century. remember that we are talking about since 1990/92, the period to which The world already produces enough people – individuals who, given the the estimates of 830 to 840 million food to feed the people who inhabit it chance, have the potential to make cited at the Summit refer. But we today. And it could produce more. significant contributions to the world cannot afford to be complacent. A However, unless deliberate action is around them. But in order to reach closer look at the data reveals that taken at all levels, the chances are their potential, they need and deserve in the first half of this decade a group that hunger and malnutrition will a life free from hunger. of only 37 countries achieved continue in the foreseeable future. New technologies allow us to link reductions totalling 100 million. But, before effective action can be national information systems and Across the rest of the developing taken, we need to know who the establish global networks, to world, the number of hungry people hungry and vulnerable are, where examine an entire ocean or one drop actually increased by almost they live, and why they have not been of water, to punch buttons and create 60 million. able to improve their situations. graphs and flow charts that show us The current rate of progress – an The numbers are 790 million in instantly and clearly the kind of average reduction of around 8 million developing countries, and 34 million progress being made. Knowledge not a year – falls squarely within the in developed countries, but we must only gives us power, it gives us trajectory of “business as usual”. If put faces on the numbers. insight and direction. With the the pace is not stepped up, more than Whether it is the victims of civil establishment of the Food Insecurity 600 million people will still go to conflict or herders who suffer and Vulnerability Information and sleep hungry in the developing because their pastureland is Mapping Systems (FIVIMS) initiative, countries in 2015. To achieve the disappearing, whether it is the urban we are expanding our ability to Summit goal, a much faster rate of poor living on national welfare or the gather, analyse and share knowledge 4 The state of food insecurity in the world 1999
  6. 6. Number of undernourished in the developing world: observed and projected ranges compared to the World Food Summit target 1 000 1 000 Millions Millions 900 900 800 800 Range around the point Range around the point the estimates reported at estimates reported at the 700 World Food Summit 700 World Food Summit Range around the projected Range around the projected the figure for 2010 reported at figure for 2010 reported at the World Food Summit World Food Summit FAO estimates of the number of undernourished 600 Range for 1996 implied by 600 Range for 1996 implied by people in the world are necessarily based on the projection for 2010 the projection for 2010 imperfect information. As better data become available the estimates are revised retrospectively. Range around the Range around the2015 of extrapolation to Range estimates therefore provide a more reliable 500 extrapolation to 2015 of 500 the projection for 2010 illustration of the number of undernourished over the projection for 2010 time. The estimated range for past, projected and World Food Summit World Food Summit Target target paths is based on a range of 5 percent above Target and below the past, projected and target numbers 400 considered by the World Food Summit in 1996. 400 Point estimates Point estimates Within these ranges, the most recently calculated prepared in 1999 prepared in 1999 point estimates are shown. 300 300 1965 1970 1975 1980 1985 1990 1995 2000 2005 2010 2015 2020 that can guide future initiatives to actions undertaken and goals set at to around 400 million by 2015, as well increase access to food for all. the local, national and regional levels, as to reduce by half or more the The work of FIVIMS is essential as where individuals will be able to see number of 34 million hungry in we enter the new millennium. We the impact of their involvement. developed countries. But as we work must devise and put into action In the absence of new investment towards the goal, we must remain policies and programmes to enable and policy efforts at all levels, aware that we cannot stop when we governments, international and non- current technological and socio- reach it. Because, even that number is governmental organizations, economic trends are likely to continue. far too big. Even one hungry person is communities and individuals to The number of undernourished people one too many. overcome the obstacles that stand in may continue to decline ... but only the way of what should be a birthright slowly and only in some regions of the for every one of the 6 000 million world. Deliberate and targeted people on this planet – enough to eat. measures and new investments are As we have seen, the progress fundamental to improve the trend. being made against hunger in the The reduction to 790 million hungry world is uneven. It is clear that there people in the developing countries is a Jacques Diouf is no global formula for success. The beginning. Our stated goal is to Director-General success must come from specific reduce that number, at the minimum, FAO The state of food insecurity in the world 1999 5
  7. 7. Undernourishment around the world Counting and locating hungry people lmost 800 million people in the A developing world do not have Prevalence of undernourishment in both developing and developed countries enough to eat. Another 34 million people in the industrialized countries and countries in transition also suffer from chronic food insecurity. If all the world’s undernourished people were gathered together, the population of the continent of the hungry would dwarf that of every other continent except Asia. The hunger of these people is not a transitory condition. It is chronic. It is debilitating. Sometimes it is deadly. It blights the lives of all who are affected and undermines national economies and development processes where it is found on a large scale, as is the case across much of the developing world. The figures, tables and map in this section depict the scale of the problem worldwide at the turn of the millennium. Measuring and monitoring prevalence They also show changes that have taken Prevalence of undernourishment is measured by the place in 98 developing countries between share of a country’s total population that is 1990/92 and 1995/97, the most recent undernourished. The higher the prevalence, the more period for which information is available. widespread the problem. To help analyse and monitor That information highlights the fact progress, the following five prevalence categories have that progress has been made. On a global been established: scale, the gains have been sufficient to bring the total number of undernourished Category % undernourished Description people in the developing world below the 1 2.5 Extremely low 800 million figure cited at the World Food Summit in 1996. 2 2.5-4 Very low The gains are encouraging, but far 3 5-19 Moderately low from satisfactory. More detailed analysis 4 20-34 Moderately high confirms that the momentum is too slow 5 •35 Very high and the progress too uneven to achieve the goal set by the Summit and reduce the total to around 400 million by the year No data 2015. In fact, the number of hungry people is growing in many parts of the world. Small increases or decreases in the A note on methodology – how the numbers are calculated number of undernourished people from one year to the next may simply reflect Chronic food insecurity is represented by data about numbers of people and the amount transitory conditions that claim our estimates of the number of people whose food of food available to them. attention but do not touch the intake does not provide enough calories to meet 2. Undernutrition is determined from data fundamental problem. Significant, their basic energy requirements – i.e. the about people's weight, height and age. lasting change in the number is the undernourished. Measurements of nutritional Ratios calculated from these measurements appropriate indicator of progress or status or undernutrition, on the other hand, are indicate the outcome not only of inadequate setbacks in banishing chronic hunger based on information about people's actual food intake but also of poor health and physiological condition. sanitation conditions that may prevent people from our world. from deriving full nutritional benefit from In practice, these are two distinct and useful what they eat. measures derived from very different analytical approaches. The two approaches are complementary, as 1. Undernourishment is estimated from existing illustrated: 6 The state of food insecurity in the world 1999
  8. 8. Food intake Undernourishment The method is described in detail in The Sixth distribution of the food supply within the World Food Survey, published by FAO in 1996. country. This gives the percentage of the Very briefly it relies on: population whose food intake falls below the Physiological Undernutrition 1. calculating the total number of calories minimum requirement; condition available from local food production, trade and 6. multiplying this percentage by the size of the stocks; population to obtain the number of Health, sanitation 2. calculating an average minimum calories undernourished people. and care requirement for the total population based on the number of calories needed by different age These calculations produce an estimate of the The numbers cited in this section refer to and gender groups and the proportion of the number of people in each country whose estimates of undernourishment based on a few population each group represents; average calorie intake falls below the minimum commonly available types of information: 3. dividing the total number of calories available required to keep the body going and perform ■ food production, trade and stocks; by the number of people in the country; light activity. Adding these numbers together ■ figures for total population and distribution by 4. factoring in a coefficient for distribution to yields a global estimate of the total number of age and gender; take account of inequality in access to food; undernourished people. ■ data on consumption distribution. 5. combining this information to construct the The state of food insecurity in the world 1999 7
  9. 9. Undernourishment around the world Counting and locating hungry people n overwhelming majority of the A undernourished people in developing countries live in Asia and the Pacific. This region is home to 70 percent of the total population of the developing world. And it accounts for Undernourishment in developed countries First estimates indicate that around 34 million undernourished people live in the industrialized countries and countries in transition. More than three-quarters of them – 26 million – are concentrated in the countries in transition of Eastern Europe and the area of the former USSR. almost two-thirds (526 million) of the The remaining 8 million live in industrialized countries. undernourished people as well. India alone has more undernourished people The proportion of undernourished people is very low or extremely low in all industrialized countries (204 million) than all of sub-Saharan Africa and 12 of the 27 countries in transition. But significantly higher rates exist in 15 of the countries combined. With India’s neighbours added in transition, mainly those belonging to the area of the former USSR and the former Federal in, the South Asian subregion accounts Republic of Yugoslavia. Prevalence categories for all developed countries are shown in the map on page 6. for more than one-third of the world total (284 million). Another 30 percent (240 million) live in Southeast and East Asia, Undernourished in developed countries, 1995/97 (millions) more than 164 million in China. REGION TOTAL UNDERNOURISHED NUMBER OF Sub-Saharan Africa is home to almost a POPULATION (%) PEOPLE quarter of the developing world’s hungry Industrialized countries 876 2.5 8 people. The problem varies in severity Countries in transition 413 6 26 across the continent. Although West Africa of which: Eastern Europe 121 4 4 has the largest total population of any of the African subregions, it has the fewest Former USSR 292 7 22 undernourished. By contrast, East Africa, with a slightly smaller total population, has more than twice as many undernourished chronically hungry people live in countries Around 570 million undernourished people. The numbers in Central and where the prevalence of undernourishment people – almost three-quarters of the Southern Africa are also proportionately is very high (35 percent or more). And in all world total – live in countries where the larger, although both have much smaller but three of these countries, the proportion prevalence of hunger is neither very low total populations. and number of hungry people have been (below 5 percent) nor very high (above As these figures suggest, in addition to increasing for some time. 35 percent). While Asian countries looking at the numbers of people afflicted by The problem is especially severe in are about equally divided between hunger, it is also important to consider the Central, East and Southern Africa. Almost the “moderately low (5-19 percent) and proportion of the population affected on a half (44 percent) of the 340 million people moderately high (20-34 percent) national and regional basis. This analytical living in the 26 countries of these subregions categories, most countries in Latin America approach spotlights areas where problems are undernourished. Only six countries and the Caribbean fall in the former. are most severe. It also helps identify groups elsewhere in the world have such high Six million undernourished people live in of countries that may share common prevalence rates – Afghanistan, countries where the prevalence is very or problems and common priorities for action. Bangladesh, Haiti, the Democratic People’s extremely low, mainly in the Near East Overall, more than a quarter of the world’s Republic of Korea, Mongolia and Yemen. (see chart below). Proportions of undernourished in developing countries, by category, 1990/92 and 1995/97 Category 1: Category 2: Category 3: 2.5% undernourished 2.5-4% undernourished 5-19% undernourished % 60 40 20 0 LIBYA TUNISIA UNITED ARAB EMIRATES KOREA, REP SYRIA ARGENTINA MALAYSIA LEBANON TURKEY JORDAN KUWAIT EGYPT URUGUAY SAUDI ARABIA TRINIDAD TOBAGO CHILE ALGERIA MOROCCO ECUADOR MEXICO MAURITIUS INDONESIA IRAN MYANMAR COSTA RICA NIGERIA GABON SURINAME BRAZIL EL SALVADOR JAMAICA GHANA COLOMBIA PARAGUAY CHINA MAURITANIA SWAZILAND CÔTE D’IVOIRE VENEZUELA IRAQ BENIN GUYANA GUATEMALA PANAMA SENEGAL VIET NAM PAKISTAN CUBA PERU 8 The state of food insecurity in the world 1999
  10. 10. Total population and number of under- Number and proportion of undernourished, by region and nourished, by region, 1995/97 (millions) subregion, 1995/97 China Number of undernourished Proportion of undernourished (millions) (%) 200 150 100 50 0 0 10 20 30 40 50 India China Other East Asia* Southeast Asia Other Asia and Pacific India Other South Asia Latin America and Caribbean North America Grey bars: Central America total population Caribbean Near East and North Africa Coloured bars: South America number Near East undernourished North Africa Sub-Saharan Africa West Africa Central Africa East Africa 0 200 400 600 800 1 000 1 200 Southern Africa *including Papua New Guinea Number of undernourished, by region, Number of undernourished by prevalence category and by region, 1995/97 (millions) 1995/97 Categories 1 and 2: Category 3: Category 4: Category 5: 5% 5-19% 20-34% *35% Sub-Saharan China 164 Total: 6 million Total: 287 million Total: 282 million Total: 216 million Africa 180 Near East and North Africa 33 Latin America and Caribbean 53 India 204 China Other Asia and Pacific Near East and North Africa Other Asia and Pacific 157 India Latin America and Caribbean Sub-Saharan Africa Grey bars: 1990/92 Coloured bars: 1995/97 Category 4: Category 5: 20-34% undernourished *35% undernourished % 80 60 40 20 0 PAPUA NEW GUINEA SRI LANKA DOMINICAN REPUBLIC LESOTHO UGANDA BURKINA FASO NICARAGUA GUINEA CAMEROON CENTRAL AFRICAN REP SIERRA LEONE KOREA, DPR CONGO, DEM REP AFGHANISTAN SUDAN HONDURAS NEPAL INDIA PHILIPPINES TOGO BOLIVIA THAILAND BOTSWANA GAMBIA MALI NAMIBIA LAOS CAMBODIA CONGO, REP BANGLADESH YEMEN RWANDA MALAWI NIGER ZIMBABWE MADAGASCAR TANZANIA KENYA LIBERIA ANGOLA ZAMBIA CHAD MONGOLIA ETHIOPIA HAITI MOZAMBIQUE BURUNDI ERITREA SOMALIA The state of food insecurity in the world 1999 9
  11. 11. Undernourishment around the world Progress and setbacks in developing countries ccording to the most recent data in the ranks of the undernourished, the total Summit target. Several of these already had A available, the number of undernourished people in the developing world has been reduced to 790 million, 40 million less than the number estimated at the time of the in 2015 will be 638 million. That figure would represent no more than the business-as-usual outcome that was branded as unacceptable by the Summit. Progress in combating hunger has also very low or insignificant levels of chronic hunger to begin with. But past performance has not been sufficient in 56 countries. The prospects are not all bleak, however. Many countries, including several World Food Summit in 1996. The decline been very uneven. Between 1991 and 1996, of the large countries that dominate in the percentage of people who are the proportion of the population going global totals, have registered steady undernourished is also significant – from hungry increased in 27 countries, including improvements. And some have scored 20 percent in the 1990/92 reference period many of those where the problem was remarkable gains. Led by five countries used at the Summit to slightly less than already most severe. In another 32 countries, from West Africa, 13 countries decreased 18 percent in 1995/97. the proportion either remained steady or the proportion of hungry people in their These gains do not appear to be either shrank too slowly to offset growth in the total populations by more than one percentage transitory or anomalous. In fact, they are population. Only 37 countries succeeded in point a year over the 16-year period. consistent with a steady downward trend, bringing down the proportion rapidly enough Valuable lessons can be learned from their as confirmed by a look at the figures for to reduce the absolute number. Because this experiences as well as from the hardships 1979/81, when almost 920 million people group included several large countries, its that have beset countries where the went hungry, amounting to around reduction of 97 million outweighed the proportion of undernourished soared over 30 percent of the population of the increase of 59 million among the other the same period. A detailed examination of developing world. countries, resulting in a net reduction of factors contributing to progress and But the pace of progress has not been about 40 million for the developing world problems in the countries that registered fast enough to reach the goal of around as a whole. the largest changes in each of the four 400 million by 2015 set by the Summit. In Over the longer period, between 1980 regions that make up the developing world fact, if the present trend continues, with and 1996, only 40 countries reduced hunger can be found in the section entitled reductions of approximately 8 million a year quickly and steadily enough to meet the Dynamics of change. Undernourishment in countries where hunger is decreasing either fast enough or insufficiently to reach the World Food Summit Target, 1980-1996 Number of countries Number of undernourished people (millions) Making progress Losing ground Making progress Losing ground Sufficient Asia and Pacific decrease Asia and Pacific 8 2 4 4 432 1 75 18 Stable and Latin America and Caribbean low Latin America and Caribbean 7 1 6 10 1 6 Insufficient 28 19 Near East and North Africa decrease Near East and North Africa 6 6 1 3 1 6 Increase 9 17 Sub-Saharan Africa Sub-Saharan Africa 10 6 22 21 14 114 Countries in each region with the largest reductions Countries with the largest reductions and increases in and increases in undernourishment, 1980-1996 undernourishment, 1980-1996 Making progress Losing ground Making progress Losing ground Asia and Pacific Ghana Cambodia Korea, DPR Burkina Faso Latin America and Caribbean Gambia Honduras Cuba Nigeria Mali Near East and North Africa Afghanistan Morocco Afghanistan Korea, DPR Sub-Saharan Africa Burundi Ghana Burundi Madagascar Mongolia -50 -40 -30 -20 -10 0 10 20 30 -50 -40 -30 -20 -10 0 10 20 30 Change in the proportion of people who are undernourished, 1980-1996 (%) Change in the proportion of people who are undernourished, 1980-1996 (%) 10 The state of food insecurity in the world 1999