China was one of the countries honoured this week by the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organisation for having halved the proportion of its hungry citizens since 1990.
This achievement sees China joining a growing group of countries to have reached international targets ahead of an end-of-2015 deadline.
At a ceremony at FAO headquarters in Rome, the FAO’s director-general, José Graziano da Silva, awarded diplomas to China for obtaining the Millennium Development Goal 1 (MDG-1).
The MDG-1 hunger target requires countries to halve the proportion of hungry people in the population before the end of 2015 compared to the level in 1990. A more ambitious World Food Summit goal requires countries to at least halve the number of hungry people in the population before the end of 2015 compared to the level in 1990.
Eradication of hunger
"One year ago we celebrated the first 38 countries that had achieved the MDG target, three years in advance of the 2015 deadline… Now we come together to recognise [China] for [its] efforts," Graziano da Silva said, adding that the overall global objective remains the total eradication of hunger and malnutrition.
"Even today, in a world of abundant food over 840 million people are still undernourished. Ensuring food security and helping people overcome extreme poverty are the first steps to build the inclusive future we want, in which nobody is left behind.”
The MDG-1 target was established by the international community at the UN General Assembly in 2000.
Forty countries have now achieved the MDG-1 while of these, 19 have achieved the World Food Summit target of halving the number of hungry people in their countries. Such achievements, the FAO chief said, show how "the political commitment of governments is being transformed into effective action and concrete results in the fight against hunger”.
Food security can be a reality
He pointed out "strong regional commitments that support and stimulate national efforts to end hunger" including the 2025 Latin America and Caribbean Hunger-Free Initiative, moves by the African Union to endorse a zero hunger target for 2025 and the Asia-Pacific's embracing of the UN Zero Hunger Challenge.
"These are efforts that are supported by non-state actors and by the international community. They show that food security can be a reality in our lifetime.”
During the ceremony, the FAO chief also commended 16 countries for having maintained their hunger rates below 5% dating back to at least 1990: Argentina, Barbados, Dominica, Brunei Darussalam, Egypt , Iran, Kazakhstan, Lebanon, Malaysia, Mexico, Republic of Korea, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Tunisia, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates.
Awards are based on statistics produced by the FAO using data provided by member countries and other international agencies.