Amidst the gloom and doom of the daily news cycle comes a decisively positive headline: the number of hungry people worldwide has declined from roughly one billion in 1990 to around 795 million today, according to a U.N. report released on Wednesday.
This achievement is even more impressive when you consider the fact that Earth’s population has increased by roughly two billion people in the past 25 years, from 5.3 billion in 1990 to 7.3 billion in 2015.
According to the United Nation’s annual hunger report, the developing world has seen a marked improvement over the past two-and-a-half decades, with the percentage of people living with chronic hunger dropping from 23.3% to just 12.9%. According to The New York Times,
“Progress was most pronounced in East Asia, Southeast and Central Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean.”
In 2000, the U.N. established a set of Millennium Development Goals (M.D.G.), setting up targets for eight international objectives, like poverty reduction, universal education and hunger eradication.
According to the U.N.’s hunger report, 72 of the 129 nations monitored by the Food and Agriculture Organization hit their M.D.G. targets by halving the percentage of hungry people in their respective countries.
“The near-achievement of the M.D.G. hunger targets shows us that we can indeed eliminate the scourge of hunger in our lifetime,” said José Graziano da Silva, director general of the Food and Agriculture Organization, while announcing the release of the report.
It wasn’t all good news though — the report also highlighted a number of failures, especially in Africa, where more than a third of people are hungry in some regions.
With 800 million people still living with chronic hunger across the globe, there is plenty of work yet to be done. That being said, the progress made since 1990 is definitely a significant achievement, and a major step in the right direction.