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World Hunger and Food Shortages Are Pressing Global Issues, Say Experts in Current Events and Politics

May 24, 2011


PASADENA, Calif.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–In an article for the quarterly journal Vision titled “What Shall We Eat and Drink?” publisher and international relations scholar David Hulme discusses the global issues of world hunger and water security. Slicing through the Gordian Knot of current events and politics, Hulme explores the complex factors relating to food shortages and the building water crisis.

People share a universal need to eat and drink, yet nearly a billion people go hungry every day. Concerns about food and water shortages were behind the eight goals of the 2000 UN Millennium Declaration, with the primary Millennium Development Goal being to reduce the number of undernourished and poverty-stricken people in developing countries from the current 16 percent to 10 percent by 2015.

“Part of the difficulty,” writes Hulme, “arises from the potential volatility of food prices accentuated by natural disasters, severe weather, surging fuel costs, and uncoordinated government actions to protect domestic supplies. Then there’s the demand for biofuels made from agricultural feedstocks… that may play a significant role in food price volatility if oil supplies become disrupted.”

Regarding the current water crisis, Hulme continues, “The earth’s water supply is finite. About 97 percent of it is brine and 3 percent is fresh…. Agriculture accounts for 70 percent of the freshwater consumed…. Both population and meat consumption in developing countries are on the increase. Industrialized meat production is far more water-intensive than grain production. Thus more stress will be placed on water resources in the years ahead.”

Tony P. Hall, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Agencies for Food and Agriculture, tells Hulme, “We have the expertise to transfer not only our energy but our know-how and our resources. But the political, economic and spiritual will is lacking.” Hall believes it will take a world leader to convince people that the global issues of food shortages and world hunger should be made the highest priority.

While many have certainly worked to alleviate these global issues, “finding complete resolution to certain kinds of human problems evades us,” concludes Hulme. The problem lies deeper than what can be observed on the surface.

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