New hunger and food insecurity metric to be launched

By Agri-Pulse staff

© Copyright Agri-Pulse Communications, Inc.

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ROME, March 13, 2013 - A new, faster and more precise way of measuring hunger and food insecurity across the world is soon to be field-tested by FAO in several pilot countries.  

The new approach relies on gathering information on the extent and severity of hunger from food-insecure people, through a carefully-designed annual survey to be conducted in collaboration with polling specialists Gallup, Inc. 

Starting this month, the new approach - known as the Voices of the Hungry project - will be finalized in collaboration with major experts in the field and tested on a pilot basis in four countries - Angola, Ethiopia, Malawi and Niger. These countries have agreed to move towards the complete eradication of hunger, in line with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's Zero Hunger challenge. 

The plan is to then extend the survey to more than 160 000 respondents in up to 150 countries covered by the Gallup World Poll and to publish updated results on each country every year. The project will run for five years and will lead to the establishment of a new FAO-certified standard for food security monitoring that could then be easily adopted by other household surveys. 

"This innovative method will be an essential tool for governments, civil society and other national and international organizations in the fight against hunger", says Jomo Sundaram, FAO Assistant Director-General for Economic and Social Development. 

"It will also be key to increasing the accountability of governments and in encouraging them to commit to hunger eradication". 

Results of the surveys will be available in days rather than years, allowing FAO to take an almost real-time snapshot of a nation's food insecurity situation. This will be the first occasion that FAO takes on responsibility for data collection. In parallel, FAO will assist countries to include the scale in their ongoing survey plans and programs to ensure future sustainability. 


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