Hunger is one of the main problems in the world today. Eradicating extreme poverty and hunger is the primary Millennium Development Goal. It is predicted that, due to climate change, agricultural output will fall by 25% by 2050. To highlight the importance of this issue, University College Dublin, together with the Department of Agriculture, Food the Marine and the Food Safety Authority of Ireland have organized the “Feeding the world in 2050” conference on 15 and 16 January. The conference will contribute to the global discussion on how to enhance global food security.
During the conference various topics related to hunger and malnutrition will be discussed, including agriculture and greenhouse gas emissions, and biotechnology and food security. Mary Robinson, former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and Tom Arnold, who was appointed by UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon, to the Lead Group of the Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) Movement in 2012, will be among the guest speakers.
The conference will be held at a time when hunger and malnutrition are a topic of increasing importance. Although good progress on eradicating hunger was made in the 1980s and 1990s, in the first decade of the 21st century, this progress started to level off. With the growing demand for food and the scarcity of land suitable for agriculture, hunger and malnutrition are already a pressing problem. According to the World Food Programme (WFP), 870 million people are undernourished today.
The implications of hunger and malnutrition
Hunger and malnutrition are a problem in itself, yet it causes many other problems too, or increases their severity. According to the WFP, Hunger and malnutrition are the number one risk to health worldwide, greater than AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis combined. Moreover, hunger impairs the economic situation of the people affected. Economists estimate that every child whose physical and mental development is stunted by hunger and malnutrition stands to lose 5-10 percent in lifetime earnings.
As well as the obvious sort of hunger resulting from an empty stomach, there is also the hidden hunger of micronutrient deficiencies which make people susceptible to infectious diseases, impair physical and mental development, reduce their labour productivity and increase the risk of premature death.
• More information on the programme of the conference
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