Even while the number of overweight and obese people is continuing to grow worldwide, the age-long scourges of chronic hunger and malnourishment remain pressing humanitarian problems. Close to 800 million people — or one in nine humans on Earth — are undernourished and thus highly susceptible to disease and infirmity. The majority of them live in developing countries, especially in rural areas, which tend lack infrastructure, are neglected by government, and especially vulnerable to natural disasters (including climate change).
Ending Rural Hunger is a project launched this year by the Brookings Institution’s Global Economy and Development division. Combining the expertise of over 120 specialists with the latest technology, it seeks to offer the world’s first comprehensive tool for monitoring the U.N. second Sustainable Development Goal (SDG): “End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition, and promote sustainable agriculture”.
To that end, the project website offers a treasure trove of interactive and multifaceted tools that cover everything from the raw numbers of hungry people by country, to which governments are making the most progress (or failing to), and which developed countries are doing more to help. By looking at every side of the equation — the impact of both domestic and international policies, environmental and economic factors, the effectiveness of certain types of aid and policy — ERH is a great resource for those of us looking to see what more can be done to help the world’s most vulnerable people in a time of plenty. I definitely recommend you check it out.
Below are some of the informative data gathered by the project, drawn from leading global institutions.
Fortunately, barring any massive and unforeseen disaster, hunger will inevitably decline — but how quickly depends on how the world acts.
The above map shows countries by greatest level of need, based on an average of the following indicators: Access to Food, Malnutrition, Agricultural Productivity Gap, and Vulnerability. You can learn more about these factors and what they mean here.
This just scratches the surface of the complex issues behind global malnutrition, rural or otherwise. Again, please check out the rest of the data here.