Home | Comment & Analysis    Thursday 4 February 2016

The long walk to end hunger

separation
increase
decrease
separation
separation

By Marco Cavalcante

Abdalla lives in the state of Kassala in eastern Sudan and does not really know what happens in the General Assembly of the United Nations in New York, thousands of kilometers away. He is not only geographically distant; his very reality is of another world. How could anything debated and decided over there – no matter how good- can be relevant to him and his family? His main worry is to make sure his family, especially the youngest two of his five children, have enough to eat. He is concerned about them having a chance to go to school, having enough money to pay for their medicine when they are sick, to eventually find a job when – and even if - they become adults… in a few words: to have a life and a range of opportunities that he never had.

But what happened in that far away room in New York last September is actually very much about Abdalla and his family. The countries of the World, encouraged by satisfying the performance of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), have decided to be even more ambitious. For the first time, the world has set as its collective objective to totally eliminate poverty and hunger. Not to reduce them, but to zero them. That is why this is relevant to everyone, especially to Abdalla.

But were the MDG results so encouraging to make it realistic to set these new lofty targets? The fact is that, worldwide, we have indeed obtained some important results. The percentage of people living under the poverty threshold in developing countries decreased from 47% in 1990 to 14% in 2015. And, the percentage of people suffering hunger decreased from 23% in 1990 to around 13% in 2015. Unfortunately these successes have not been equally achieved worldwide: Asia, the protagonist of unprecedented economic growth, performed better than other continents. In addition, even within successful countries, important segments of the population remain excluded from the economic development dividend. These communities continue to suffer increasing hunger and poverty furthering the economic and social divide between the rich and the poor.

Now is the time to look at people and communities that have been excluded from this growth. That is why 193 nations decided to set the seventeen Sustainable Development Goals or SDGs, to be reached by 2030. People will say: “are they realistic?” or “why do we set ourselves up for failure?”. Let’s not forget that there was a similar reaction when the MDGs were set. It is a fact that globally we do have sufficient resources and knowledge to achieve these goals, guaranteeing the world and its people a future free from both poverty and hunger. A combination of investments in social protection and in the agricultural sector has proven to be a successful receipt in the countries that were able to achieve the poverty and hunger goals of the MDGs.

We shouldn’t be concerned about being too optimistic or even realistic, our only commitment should be to try. Because certainly, if we don’t, we will not achieve them. And if in January 2031, the nations of the world meet again and see that there are still poor or hungry people, it will not mean that we failed, but only that there will still be better work to do.

In Sudan the scope of work is enormous: 46.5% of people live under the poverty line, while 38% of the children are suffering from stunting (too short for their age, a form of chronic malnutrition) and 16% from wasting (too thin for their age, a form of acute malnutrition). These percentage means millions of people have to be reached with assistance in the next fifteen years.

In the meantime, Abdalla is talking about the drought, what the “experts” call El Nino. His harvest is not nearly as good as last year’s. He is seriously thinking of selling his livestock in order to cope with the difficulties that he will face. This is where we will start 2016 and this journey towards reaching the SDGs, with Abdalla’s family and all the other families that commenced this New Year with little to celebrate and much to worry. It is going to be a long and hard walk but we will get there. If by 2030 or later, it really does not matter too much. But together, we will get there.

Marco Cavalcante works as Head of Programme for the United Nations World Food Programme. This article was written in his personal capacity and does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the United Nations World Food Programme.



The views expressed in the 'Comment and Analysis' section are solely the opinions of the writers. The veracity of any claims made are the responsibility of the author not Sudan Tribune.

If you want to submit an opinion piece or an analysis please email it to comment@sudantribune.com

Sudan Tribune reserves the right to edit articles before publication. Please include your full name, relevant personal information and political affiliations.
Comments on the Sudan Tribune website must abide by the following rules. Contravention of these rules will lead to the user losing their Sudan Tribune account with immediate effect.

- No inciting violence
- No inappropriate or offensive language
- No racism, tribalism or sectarianism
- No inappropriate or derogatory remarks
- No deviation from the topic of the article
- No advertising, spamming or links
- No incomprehensible comments

Due to the unprecedented amount of racist and offensive language on the site, Sudan Tribune tries to vet all comments on the site.

There is now also a limit of 400 words per comment. If you want to express yourself in more detail than this allows, please e-mail your comment as an article to comment@sudantribune.com

Kind regards,

The Sudan Tribune editorial team.


The following ads are provided by Google. SudanTribune has no authority on it.



Sudan Tribune

Promote your Page too

Latest Comments & Analysis


Who shall be South Sudan Vice President on SSOA’s ticket? 2019-10-17 15:16:16 By Roger Alfred Yoron Modi The Revitalised Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan R-ARCSS provides that President Salva Kiir shall continue as President of (...)

Is Salva Kiir ready to implement peace? 2019-10-17 15:14:11 By Duop Chak Wuol He began his tenure as a leader admired by most South Sudanese. The death of South Sudan’s renowned leader, Dr John Garang de Mabior, in July 2005 opened the door for him to (...)

Is South Sudan’s administrative system an ethnic fragmentation or incoming ethnic federalism? 2019-10-17 05:11:36 By James Gatdet Dak Lampuar October 16, 2019 – I neither claim to be an expert on decentralized system of governance and on federalism, in all its forms, nor a decision-making authority in our (...)


MORE






Latest Press Releases


S. Korea supports UN communities building resilience project in Sudan’s Blue Nile 2019-09-09 09:26:41 UNDP Sudan September 5, 2019 (KHARTOUM) - An agreement was signed on 5th of September between the Korean Ambassador, His Excellency. Lee Ki-Seong and Dr. Selva Ramachandran, Resident (...)

Sudanese lawyers and Human rights defenders back calls for civil rule 2019-04-26 10:22:06 Press statement by 55 Sudanese lawyers and Human rights defenders on Sudan Sit-in and Peaceful Protest Khartoum -24/04/2019 We, the undersigned (55) Sudanese lawyers and human rights defenders, (...)

South Sudan’s Lafon youth condemn killings of civilians by Pari community 2019-04-03 21:54:29 Press Statement on the Fighting between Pari/ Pacidi and Lotuko/Lokiri on 24/3/2019 Release by The Lafon County Youth Union: We, the Lafon County Youth Union hereby condemn the atrocities and (...)


MORE

Copyright © 2003-2019 SudanTribune - All rights reserved.