The Global Hunger Index is published by the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), Concern Worldwide and the private German development agency Welthungerhilfe.
The good news from this year's report is that there has been a decrease in total number of people in the world who are “chronically undernourished”. The number of hungry people is still staggering, at 868 million, but this is a drop of over 6 per cent since 1990-92. So we are making strides in tackling hunger.
But the report highlights the alarming levels of hunger in some countries. We must remain steadfast in reducing still further the 12.5 per cent of global population who go hungry. We believe it is a scandal that one in eight people on the planet don't have enough to eat – this is more than the population of Europe, the USA and Canada combined.
And significantly for our region, all but one Pacific nation is absent from the Global Hunger Index. The only Pacific country is Fiji, with East Timor representing our wider neighbourhood. This poses a question: Do we really have confidence that there is no substantive issue with undernourishment in the Pacific?
This question is particularly relevent because Fiji is held up on the index as a success story, moving from a score of 6.3 twenty years ago to a score of less then five in 2012. And although hunger may not be as striking across the Pacific as in Africa, wider food issues persist and pose real problems for communities. A clear example is Papau New Guinea, where unbalanced diets and food insecurity add to a lifetime legacy of poor health, low life expectancy and fragile livelihoods.
The report also recognises that land grabs, food prices spikes and catastrophes like the West Africa food crisis all contribute to the numbers of people going to bed hungry. Oxfam is determined to tackle the root causes of the problems and the vested interests that keep people hungry. If you join our GROW campaign, you can help us build a better future where everyone has enough to eat, always.