The amazing work being done to eradicate polio by UNICEF, Rotary International, and the Gates Foundation is a great example of successful collaboration to attack a major global health issue. As a member of Rotary I have seen how committed our organization has been to #endpolio. Seeing the excellent work being accomplished and realizing that we will create a polio-free world inspires me to do even more to create a world without hunger.
My entire adult life has been devoted to ending the scourge of hunger. Now, the United Nations has set a sustainable development goal to end hunger within the next 15 years. My prayer is that by 2030 our polio-free world will also be a hunger-free world. Working together we can make it happen.
This piece by William Lambers is the latest story on the unfolding famine threat in South Sudan. Stop Hunger Now is urging all it’s friends and supporters to help raise awareness of this unfolding tragedy, and to support the relief efforts though the charity of your choice. Three million of our family at risk of starvation is simply not acceptable.
Oxfam warns about South Sudan crisis
The war between the government and opposition forces has led to major food shortages. The already impoverished nation has been plunged deeper into despair.
Families are becoming increasingly desperate. Without a peace deal, things are likely to get worse. Emma Drew, Head of Humanitarian Programs for Oxfam in South Sudan, says,
What we’re seeing now is families that have spent the past year and a half living on the edge – many have exhausted their food stocks, been displaced from their homes, missed opportunities to plant and farm, and now the economy is showing the strain of a year and a half of conflict.”
The UN World Food Programme (WFP) has been leading the hunger response. The relief mission is one of the most dangerous in the world with the ongoing violence and lack of security. WFP reports three of its aid workers in South Sudan are missing. The three staff members were traveling to a food distribution on April 1st, but WFP has not been able to contact them since.
WFP has to move food around a conflict-torn country with poor roads. Airlifts are used to bring food to some areas. This is difficult and costly. The mission for South Sudan is already low on funding.
Oxfam is urging governments to step up funding for South Sudan. Most of all a peace deal must be achieved. The violence must stop and humanitarian workers must be allowed safe access. Until this happens, hunger will continue to escalate, leaving South Sudan at risk of famine.
I have often addressed the powerful impact of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in my posts, especially in relationship to ending hunger in our lifetime. The United Nations set eight specific and measurable goals. We are now less than 1,000 days from reaching the 2015 target date for achieving those goals.
Earlier this month the United Nations released the 2013 Millennium Development Goals Report. It’s fascinating reading. Ban Ki-moon, Secretary-General of the United Nations begins the Foreword of the report by stating the, “The Millennium Development Goals have been the most successful global anti-poverty push in history.”
And although the report shows that significant and truly substantial progress has been made toward achieving all the eight goals, the report is also clear the the achievement of the MDGs has been uneven. More effort must to be given if we are to continue seeing solid progress made toward reaching the full promise of the MDGs.
Although the first Millennium Development Goal of cutting poverty and hunger in half by 2015 is clearly within reach it hasn’t been fully realized yet. I will quote from the report’s overview.
The proportion of people living in extreme poverty has be halved at the global level
The world reached the poverty reduction target five years ahead of schedule. In developing regions, the proportion of people living on less than $1.25 a day fell from 47 per cent in 1990 to 22 per cent in 2010. About 700 million people lived in conditions of extreme poverty in 2010 than in 1990.
The hunger reduction target is within reach
The proportion of undernourished people in developing regions decreased from 23.2 per cent in 1990-92 to 14.9 per cent in 2010-2012. Given reinvigorated efforts, the target of halving the percentage of people suffering from hunger by 2015 appears to be within reach. Still one in eight people in the world today remain chronically undernourished.
We are so close to the goal of cutting the number of hunger in half. I know we can make it happen. But we must always remember achieving these goals is not about numbers. We are talking about people, members of our family who will no longer have to suffer the needless pain of hunger. we are talking changed lives and hope for brighter futures.
Stop Hunger Now is committed to ending hunger in our lifetime. Achieving the Millennium Development Goals is one giant step toward making that happen.
The world has lost one of its true giants. Even though I knew it would soon happen, I was stunned yesterday when I heard of Nelson Mandela’s passing.
Like so many others of my generation, Nelson Mandela was a larger-than-life hero to me. He was in the ranks of Mother Theresa, Martin Luther King, Jr., and Desmond Tutu as real people who lived out their beliefs and never flinched when facing the ugly reality of global injustice. He was a flesh and blood champion of the poor and oppressed and demonstrated that one person can make a real difference in the world.
Living out his convictions, Nelson Mandela was a leader that helped change the world. He was a champion of peace, and never ceased to fight against injustice and hatred. Mandela recognized that hunger needed to be addressed as a moral issue. He was a constant inspiration to me and I have often used his wisdom and words in my writing. Was he perfect? Certainly not. But he was truly one of the greatest men of our time, and our world is a smaller, meaner place without him.
So today, with the rest of the world, I mourn the loss of a courageous leader and moral hero. The following is an excerpt from a news release from the United Nations WFP.
The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) today is mourning the loss of President Nelson Mandela. WFP, in a statement today said Mandela was “a champion against injustice and a true ally in the fight against hunger.”
Mandela delivered a special message to WFP’s staff in 2004, stating, “Hunger is an issue of social justice and not economics. Our economic approach to food and its distribution reflects our basic moral values. There are relatively poor countries where almost everyone is reasonably fed and richer ones where there is widespread malnutrition. The economic systems in these countries vary. Those who have succeeded have done so because they have made it a priority to end it. Hunger is a moral issue.”
May he rest in peace.