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Promises Unkept: a failing world hunger pledge

WORLDWIDE | Tuesday, 5 August 2008 | Views [724]

Photo courtesy of VisualEconomics.com

Photo courtesy of VisualEconomics.com

In 1996, the World Food Summit pledged to cut world hunger by 50% by 2015. A pledge such as this would require billions of dollars in funding, and at the time, the world was ready to ante up. However, additional aid to agriculture has not only failed to be presented, but has dropped by 58% since 1984. FAO Director-General Jacques Diouf makes an interesting point regarding this failure to raise the funds: "...in 2006 the world spent $1.2 trillion on arms while food wasted in a single country could cost $100 billion and excess consumption by the world’s obese amounted to $20 billion. Against that backdrop, how can we explain to people of good sense and good faith that it was not possible to find $30 billion a year to enable 862 million hungry people to enjoy the most fundamental of human rights: the right to food and thus the right to life?" (Sustainable Food News, "World Food Summit pledge to cut hunger by 50% is dead," 6/3/08).

He puts the blame in the right place. The unfortunate civilians in hungry and war-torn third-world countries aren't responsible for their situation - they are the victims of civil wars, terror, and disease. The only things they have to hold onto are hope and promises, and they don't understand when those promises aren't fulfilled.

The following has been said before: as the most prosperous and wealthy nation in this globalized world, we have a responsibility to help those in need - not to be a police force, but to provide the resources and education people need so they may care for themselves. In light of our current problem with over-population, however, one could say this disparity is a way for the earth to bring itself back into balance. But as compassionate human beings, we feel for the world's poor - fellow humans sailing with us on this little Spaceship Earth.

Like Mr. Diouf says above, there's no reason why we these funds could not have been raised simply through collecting the excess and wasteful spending of both the government and the people. We must urge our current leaders to follow through with their pledges, and as our generation takes leadership in the very near future, we must remember to as well.

Tags: world issues

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