ISLAMABAD: While the world is off-track in the fight against hunger and moving further away from the binding goal of ending hunger by 2030, the 2021 Global Hunger Index (GHI) showed that over the years, Pakistan has shown improvement as the country was ranked 92nd out of 116.

GHI is a peer-reviewed report published by the Concern Worldwide of Ireland and Welthungerhilfe (WHH) every year since 2007 to track hunger across the globe.

An event, to launch the chapter regarding Pakistan, was organised at a local hotel on Tuesday and attended by the nutrition section of the Scaling up Nutrition (SUN) Secretariat in the planning ministry.

The sources of data to compile the report every year essentially include the Demographic and Health Surveys of Pakistan (DHSP) and nutrition-related surveys in the country, carried out by or led by the government.

Data reveals alarming rise in number of hungry, poor people

It is worth mentioning that developed countries are not included in the survey so the report is based on the situation of developing and under-developed countries. This year, data of only 116 countries was available. As per the report, the country considered to have a reduced ratio of hunger is close to zero and ones close to 100 are considered to have a higher hunger ratio.

This year, Pakistan with a score of 24.7 is ranked 92 out of 116 countries with sufficient data available. India has been ranked at 101 but other countries of the region showed better ranking as compared to Pakistan. Sri Lanka was ranked 65th whereas Nepal and Bangladesh were ranked 76th.

Data from the latest United Nations report is alarming as the number of hungry and poor people has been rising again for several years. In the world today, some 811 million people suffer from hunger and 41 million live on the brink of famine whereas 47 countries will not even reach low hunger levels by 2030; as many as 28 of these countries are in Africa.

The chapter regarding Pakistan shows that the situation regarding hunger was improving since 2000 as the ratio was 36.7 in year 2000, at 33.1 in year 2006, at 32.1 in year 2012 and in year 2021, the points further dropped to 24.7.

During the event, Aisha Jamshed, country director of Welthungerhilfe, welcomed guests and informed them about the objective of the GHI as well as Welthungerhilfe’s work of assisting food insecure communities and build resilience in cooperation with the civil society, government and private sector.

Food and Nutrition Security Advisor Omer Bangash, principal scientific officer from Pakistan Council of Scientific and Industrial Research Dr Omer Tarar, chief of nutrition at the Ministry of Planning Dr Nazeer Ahmed, country director of the World Food Programme Chris Kaye and others spoke to participants.

Published in Dawn, August 17th, 2022

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