A Billion Hungry People

Governments and aid agencies must rise to the challenge

Published: 26 January 2009

High food prices have brought into sharp focus an existing global food crisis that affects almost one billion people. Lasting solutions to the problem include adequate investment in agriculture, fairer trade, the redistribution of resources, and action on climate change.

But hungry people cannot be fed on the hope of long-term solutions. Governments, supported by aid agencies and donors, must act now to provide systematic emergency assistance and longer-term support to those in need, and to better protect people in chronic poverty against shocks such as drought, floods, and market volatility.

Here are some of the top recommendations of this report:

Governments in developing countries should:

  • Promote a shared understanding of hunger and vulnerability and of appropriate responses.
  • Ensure affected communities have the necessary access to income and food through locally appropriate, social protection measures

Donors and international organizations should:

  • Support through finance and technical assistance the active role of the state, investing in national capacity for a sustained response to hunger and supporting regional initiatives.
  • Increase funding for cash transfers to needy families and reduce the emphasis on in-kind food aid.

International non-governmental organizations (INGOs) should:

  • Strengthen local and national mechanisms of prevention and response to food crises rather than just delivering aid to people.
  • Support local civil-society organizations to participate in shaping and implementing national food, agriculture, and social protection policies.