Pakistan has 22 per cent of its population undernourished, though it improved from a previous “alarming” hunger level among developing countries, the Global Hunger Index revealed on Tuesday.
Ranked 108 among 118 countries on the index, Pakistan remained on a “serious” level, scoring 33.4 against 35.1 in the 2008 index.
The country performed worse than neighbors India and Bangladesh, which scored 28.5 and 27.1 respectively, but better than Afghanistan’s 34.8. Another 43 countries, including India, Nigeria and Indonesia, showed “serious” hunger levels.
The hunger index ranks countries based on undernourishment, child mortality, child wasting (low weight for height) and child stunting (low height for age).
At the current rate of decline, more than 45 countries – including India, Pakistan, Haiti, Yemen, and Afghanistan – will have “moderate” to “alarming” hunger scores in the year 2030, the authors of the index said.
“Countries must accelerate the pace at which they are reducing hunger” if they are to meet the 2030 target, Shenggen Fan, director general of the Washington-based International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), said in a statement.
“Ending global hunger is certainly possible, but it’s up to all of us… (to) set the priorities right to ensure that governments, the private sector and civil society devote the time and resources necessary,” Fan added.
World leaders agreed a 2030 deadline for ending global hunger last year as part of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) – an ambitious plan for tackling poverty, hunger and inequality.
IFPRI produces the annual index along with aid agencies Concern Worldwide and Welthungerhilfe.
Overall, some 795 million people go to bed hungry every night.
“We have the technology, knowledge and resources to achieve (zero hunger). What is missing is both the urgency and the political will to turn commitments into action,” said Dominic MacSorley, CEO of Concern Worldwide.
Nearly half the population in CAR and Zambia, and one in three people in Chad, are undernourished, it showed.
Sub-Saharan Africa has the highest hunger levels, followed closely by South Asia.
“Too many people are hungry today. There is a need for urgent, thoughtful and innovative action to ensure that no one ever goes hungry again,” said David Nabarro, special adviser to the UN secretary-general on the SDGs.