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David Beckmann, Bread for the World
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April 4, 2008

In 1996, at the World Food Summit (WFS) in Rome, participants promised to reduce the number of undernourished people by half by 2015. Ten years later there was a 23 million increase in hungry people in the developing countries.

The numbers from the UN, WHO and USDA Economic Research Service are stark:

  • More than 854 million people in the world go hungry.

  • Every day, almost 16,000 children die from hunger-related causes — one child every five seconds

  • Poor nutrition and calorie deficiencies cause nearly one in three people to die prematurely or have disabilities, according to the World Health Organization.

  • 35.5 million people in the United States — including 12.6 million children—live in households that experience hunger or the risk of hunger.

  • Undernourishment negatively affects people's health, productivity, sense of hope and overall well-being. A lack of food can stunt growth, slow thinking, sap energy, hinder fetal development and contribute to mental retardation.

  • Economically, the constant securing of food consumes valuable time and energy of poor people, allowing less time for work and earning income.
Learn more about the global fight to end hunger from the links provided below.

David Beckmann

David Beckmann has been president of Bread for the World for 15 years, leading large-scale and successful campaigning to strengthen U.S. political commitment to overcoming hunger and poverty. Before that, he served at the World Bank for 15 years, overseeing large projects and driving innovations to make the Bank more effective in reducing poverty.

Beckmann is also president of Bread for the World Institute, which does research and education on hunger-related issues, including agriculture and trade policy. He founded and serves as president of the Alliance to End Hunger, which engages diverse U.S. institutions – Muslim and Jewish groups, corporations, unions and universities – in building political will to end hunger.

Beckmann earned degrees from Yale, Christ Seminary, and the London School of Economics, and five universities have awarded him honorary doctorates. He is a clergyman as well as an economist. He is the author of TRANSFORMING THE POLITICS OF HUNGER AND GRACE AT THE TABLE: ENDING HUNGER IN GOD’S WORLD.

Published on April 4, 2008.

Guest photo by Robin Holland

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References and Reading:
Bread for the World
Bread for the World is a nationwide faith-based citizens' movement against hunger that mobilizes a quarter of a million constituent letters to Congress each year. Since 2000, the organization has helped to double U.S. funding for poverty-focused development assistance. Bread for the World has also helped to win increases in nutrition assistance for food-insecure people in the United States since the late 1990s – to a total that now exceeds $50 billion a year. Their Web site includes facts and figures on hunger and issue briefs.

The International Alliance Against Hunger
In 2002, when the World Food Summit: five years later convened to look at progress, delegates became acutely aware of the need to work together to accelerate the global effort if they were to reach the Food Summit and Millennium Development Goals. The International Alliance Against Hunger is a consortium of local, national and international governmental and non-governmental organizations.

United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization: The state of food insecurity in the world
The state of food insecurity in the world reports on global and national efforts to reach the goal set by the 1996 World Food Summit: to reduce by half the number of undernourished people in the world by the year 2015.

CARE, World Hunger Campaign
Facts about this specific campaign to end hunger with a link to sign the world hunger petition.

Concern America
Concern America is an international development and refugee aid organization that provides long-term, community-based development and support to economically impoverished communities throughout the world.

International Food Policy Research Institute
Data and publications regarding research on solutions to poverty and hunger with links to resources for global research on agriculture, hunger, poverty and the environment.

NEWSHOUR EXTRA: World Hunger on the Rise
The ONLINE NEWSHOUR takes a look at the goals of the World Food Summit.

UNICEF, Malnutrition: The Challenge
UNICEF end-of-decade review (1990-2000) of child malnutrition and its impact.

World Food Program
Contains information to learn more about what causes hunger and where it exists in the world.

World Health Organization, Deficiency Diseases
Resources on diseases and problems emerging from malnourishment.

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