The number of undernourished people
in the world remains unacceptably high at close to one
billion in 2010 despite an expected decline – the
first in 15 years. This decline is largely attributable to a
more favourable economic environment in 2010 –
particularly in developing countries – and the fall in
both international and domestic food prices since 2008.
FAO estimates that a total of 925
million people are undernourished in 2010 compared with
1.023 billion in 2009. Most of the decrease was in Asia,
with 80 million fewer hungry, but progress was also made in
sub-Saharan Africa, where 12 million fewer people are going
hungry. However, the number of hungry people is higher in
2010 than before the food and economic crises of 2008–09.
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The number and the proportion of
undernourished people have declined, but they remain
unacceptably high. Undernourishment remains higher than
before the food and economic crises, making it ever more
difficult to achieve international hunger targets.
Countries in protracted crisis
require special attention. They are characterized by
long-lasting or recurring crises and limited capacity to
respond, exacerbating food insecurity problems.
Improving food security in protracted
crises requires going beyond short-term responses in order
to protect and promote people’s livelihoods over the
longer term. Appropriate responses must also recognize
the different impacts of protracted crises on men and women.
Supporting institutions is key to
addressing protracted crises. Local institutions, in
particular, can help address food security problems in
protracted crises, but they are often ignored by external
Agriculture and the rural economy are
key sectors for supporting livelihoods in protracted crises,
but they are not properly reflected in aid flows. While
agriculture accounts for a third of national income in
countries in protracted crisis, the sector receives only 4 percent
of humanitarian aid and 3 percent of development aid.
The current aid architecture needs to
be modified to better address both immediate needs and the
structural causes of protracted crises. Important areas
of intervention (including social protection and risk
reduction) are often underfunded.
Food assistance helps build the basis
for long-term food security, and is particularly important
in countries in protracted crisis. The use of a varied
set of food assistance tools, complemented by innovations in
how food is procured, will serve as a strong basis for food
security in the longer term.
Broader social protection measures
help countries cope with protracted crises and lay the
foundation for long-term recovery. Key interventions
include providing safety nets, insurance when appropriate,
and services such as health and education.