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Making local sense of food, urban growth, population and energy

FAO counts down days to Rio +20 with a factsheet

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Entitled ‘100 days to Rio +20, 100 facts Making the link between people, food and the environment’, the FAO has released a list of what it considers 100 pertinent facts. These are grouped under the headings of hunger, water, forestry, gender, fisheries, land, food supply and production, and nature and the environment.

A useful compilation that can serve as a checklist for practitioners, NGOs, research groups and civil society to help them see the dense web of connections between all these aspects of food and human needs. With only marginally more effort, FAO could have turned this document into a meta-bibliography of links and resources on each of these 100 facts – in that way making it very much more useful for all those who want to be heard at Rio +20, such as through the Rio Dialogues.

Here are the first 15 of the 100 and are from the section on ‘Hunger’:

1. The first Millennium Development Goal set by the international community for the 21st century is to half the proportion of hungry people in the world. Progress was made in reducing chronic hunger in the 1980s and the first half of the 1990s, but hunger has been steadily rising for the past decade.
2. Today, chronic hunger affects over 900 million people worldwide– almost 16 percent of the population in developing countries.
3. The proportion of hungry people is highest in sub-Saharan Africa, at around 30 percent of the population. The region with the overall greatest sheer numbers of hungry people is Asia and the Pacific.
4. Malnutrition is the single largest contributor to disease in the world. In developing countries, almost five million children under the age of five die of malnutrition-related causes every year.
5. More often than not, the face of malnutrition is female. In households which are vulnerable to food insecurity, women are at greater risk of malnutrition than men.
6. The poor spend as much as 70 percent of their income on food. Urban residents and the rural poor, who can neither produce their own food nor buy it, are particularly vulnerable.
7. Within the next 20 years, 60 percent of the world’s population will live in cities, with most urban expansion taking place in the developing world. Ensuring access to nutritious, affordable food for the poorer of these city-dwellers is emerging as a significant challenge.
8. Almost 100 countries have been significantly affected by high food prices in recent years.
9. With the world population expected to reach 8.2 billion by 2030, the planet will have to feed an additional 1.5 billion people, 90 percent of whom will be living in developing countries.
10. The world will need to raise its food production by 60-70 percent to feed more than nine billion people by 2050.
11. Every year, the average consumer in Europe and North America throws away 95–115kg of edible food.
12. The amount of food wasted by consumers in industrialised countries each year (222m tons) is almost as high as the total net food production of sub-Saharan Africa (230m tons).
13. The rate of growth in agricultural productivity is expected to fall to 1.5 percent between now and 2030 and further to 0.9 percent between 2030 and 2050.
14. Growth rate for agricultural productivity between 1961 and now: +2.3 percent per year.
15. There are 70 situations of current or potential conflict in the world and around 20 countries in protracted crisis, meaning they experience an extremely high prevalence of hunger.

Written by makanaka

May 21, 2012 at 07:28

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