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Hunger remains a ‘serious’ issue for Pakistan: study finds

KARACHI: Not much has been done to eradicate poverty and hunger from the country and this narrative received a support on Tuesday from the 2016 Global Hunger Index (GHI) which placed Pakistan as a country with ‘serious’ hunger level.

The study finds Pakistan on a 0-100 point scale (with 100 being the worst in hunger levels) with a score of 33.4, improving slightly from its previous score of 35.1 in 2008.

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Image by International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI)

Pakistan got the rank with 22 per cent of its population undernourished and 8.1 per cent of its population under five mortality rate on the GHI which presents a multidimensional measure of national, regional, and global hunger.

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Image by International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI)

The study suggested that the world was not on course to end hunger by the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal deadline of 2030.

It said the developing countries made substantial progress in reducing hunger since 2000 with a 29 per cent fall. However, if hunger continued to decline at the same pace as it has since 1992, over 45 countries – including India, Pakistan, Haiti, Yemen, and Afghanistan – would still have ‘moderate’ to ‘alarming’ hunger scores in the year 2030.

The GHI, now in its 11th year, ranks countries based on four key indicators: undernourishment, child mortality, child wasting and child stunting.

“Simply put, countries must accelerate the pace at which they are reducing hunger or we will fail to achieve the second Sustainable Development Goal,” said IFPRI Director General Shenggen Fan.

“Ending global hunger is certainly possible, but it’s up to all of us that we set the priorities right to ensure that governments, the private sector and civil society devote the time and resources necessary to meet this important goal.”

Image by International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI)

The Central African Republic, Chad, and Zambia had the highest levels of hunger in the GHI report. Seven countries had ‘alarming’ levels of hunger, while 43 countries – including India, North Korea, Bangladesh and Indonesia – had ‘serious’ hunger levels.

No developing countries for which data was available were in the ‘extremely alarming’ category, for the second year in a row.

The GHI 2016 report ranked 118 countries in the developing world, almost half of which have ‘serious’ or ‘alarming’ hunger levels.

“The 2030 Agenda set a clear global objective for an end to hunger – everywhere – within the next 14 years,” says David Nabarro, Special Adviser to the UN Secretary-General on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and Climate Change.

“Too many people are hungry today.  There is a need for urgent, thoughtful and innovative action to ensure that no one ever goes hungry again.”

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