The countries were early in attaining their commitments for the FAO’s Millennium Development Goal 1 (MDG-1) plan to halve the proportion of hungry people by the end of 2015.
The FAO’s director-general, José Graziano da Silva, awarded diplomas to government representatives of the 13 countries, which also included Brazil, Ethiopia, Iran and Mexico.
"You have overcome major challenges in difficult global economic conditions and policy environments. You have demonstrated the will and mobilised the means," Graziano da Silva told them.
Progress in eradicating worldwide hunger over the next ten years "is gaining momentum", but much more needs to be done, with 805m people still suffering from chronic undernourishment, he said while urging countries to accelerate progress.
To achieve this, there is a need to "improve the quality and efficiency of food systems, promote rural development, increase productivity, raise rural incomes, improve access to food, and strengthen social protection.”
Ethiopia, Gabon, the Gambia, Iran, Kiribati, Malaysia, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mexico and the Philippines have now reached the MDG-1 hunger target, while Brazil, Cameroon and Uruguay have also achieved the more ambitious World Food Summit (WFS) target of halving the halving the number of undernourished people by 2015.
The Philippines’ achievement of meeting its target early is the result of economic growth and policies put in place by governments over the last two decades. In most countries, interventions in agriculture have been complemented by social protection programmes aiming to provide immediate relief to vulnerable population groups.