Of the 38, 20 countries including Algeria, Bangladesh, Chile, Fiji, Jordan, Niger and Panama met Millennium Development Goal (MDG 1) number one, to halve the proportion of hungry people as measured between 1990-92 and 2010-2012 against UN benchmarks.
Another 18 including Azerbaijan, Cuba, Nicaragua, Samoa and Thailand met that target plus the tougher World Food Summit (WFS) goal to halve the absolute number of undernourished people between 1990-92 and 2010-2012.
That goal was set in 1996.
“These countries are leading the way to a better future,” said FAO director general José Graziano da Silva.
“They are proof that with strong political will, coordination and cooperation, it is possible to achieve rapid and lasting reductions in hunger.”
Graziano da Silva urged continued action toward the UN Zero Hunger Challenge launched in 2012 by UN secretary general, Ban Ki-moon.
“Globally, hunger has declined over the past decade, but 870 million people are still undernourished, and millions of others suffer the consequences of vitamin and mineral deficiencies, including child stunting,” da Silva said.
“We need to keep up our efforts, until everyone can live healthy, productive lives.”
In its recent State of Food Insecurity in the World 2012, the FAO estimated about 15% of people living in the developing world experience hunger.
Aside from the human cost, FAO said the associated health problems could account for productivity losses that could account for 5% of global gross domestic product (GDP) – equivalent to $3.5 trillion, or $500 per person.
Agricultural improvement and micronutrient programmes like Scaling up Nutrition, Vitamin Angels and sightandlife along with NGOs like the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN) and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation have been leading the battle against hunger, malnutrition and undernutrition.
At the 38th FAO congress which begins on Saturday, Amartya Sen, winner of the 1998 Nobel Prize for Economics, will honour the countries that have made the hunger gains, andgive the McDougall Memorial Lecture, entitled, ‘Why Is There So Much Hunger in the World?’
Webcasts from the congress are available here.
The full list of countries achieving MDG 1: Algeria, Angola, Bangladesh, Benin, Brazil, Cambodia, Cameroon, Chile, Dominican Republic, Fiji, Honduras, Indonesia, Jordan, Malawi, Maldives, Niger, Nigeria, Panama, Togo and Uruguay.
The list of countries achieving both MDG 1 and the WFS are: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Cuba, Djibouti, Georgia, Ghana, Guyana, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Nicaragua, Peru, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Samoa, Sao Tome and Principe, Thailand, Turkmenistan, Venezuela (Bolivarian Republic of) and Viet Nam.