Monday, January 31, 2005

[Global Poverty] One Billion People Live in Absolute Poverty

by Jennifer Nakalema & Mahdi Ssenkabirwa
The Monitor (Kampala)

International efforts to reduce hunger and poverty have scored poorly and the world is not on track to meet global goals, a new Global Governance Initiative Annual Report 2005 has shown.

According to the press statement issued by the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), a scale of zero to 10 global efforts to reduce hunger scored only three and efforts to diminish poverty earned a rating of four.

The statement is part of the report that was prepared by the World Economic Forum and present Aed at a meeting in Davos, Switzerland on January 25.

The World Economic Forum created the initiative that provides an annual assessment of the efforts being made towards achieving the world's goals by the governments, international organisations, the private sector and civil organisations.

The statement predicts that if current trends continue, there will still be about 600 million hungry people in 2015, far short of the target. To reach that goal, the current pace of reduction would need to be accelerated more than 12 times.

A panel led by Sartaj Aziz, former Finance and Foreign Minister of Pakistan, and Joachim von Braun, Director General of IFPRI, assessed global progress in the fight against hunger and poverty.

The statement, seen by The Monitor, says the number of people surviving on less than $1 a day has declined by 12 million in the last decade, leaving more than one billion in absolute poverty.

"Agriculture has a tremendously important role to play in meeting these goals. Half of the world's hungry people live in farm households, and three quarters of the world's poor live in rural areas," Braun said in the report.