Starving World

Around the planet 1 billion people do not have enough to eat, according to a new report by the United Nations. This is a galling indictment on wealthy western powers and the rapacious leaders of poverty-stricken nations whose people are starving, some of them literally.

Instead of progressing humankind’s lot, collectively our species appears to be doing exactly the opposite. The UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation, which carried out the survey, said more than half of those going hungry live in Asia-Pacific countries and the rest in Africa, and that the figure has ballooned by about 100 million because of the global financial downturn.

“It’s the first time in human history that we have so many hungry people in the world,” spokesman Kostas Stamoulis said.

It is the age-old quandary and seemingly endless and unbreakable cycle of corruption and mismanagement that leads to poverty and hunger. No amount of money thrown at various dustbowl African nations has eased their people’s burden of suffering, for instance.

But on a planet whose population is now surpassing 6.7 billion, many in developing-stage countries, there are sufficient multilateral aid and financing agencies to suggest that it should be possible to ease impecunious people’s plight. That is not the case.

Given that the majority of those starving live in our own region, we would ask what the Asian Development Bank, which recently met in Bali, is doing. After all, its stated aim is “to help its developing member countries reduce poverty and improve the quality of life of their people.” Here we have direct evidence that this is not happening and the bank is failing in its goals.

Stamoulis accurately noted that the current fiscal meltdown does not mean there is a lack of aid available, saying there was “a contradiction, because a lot of the world is very rich despite the economic crisis.”

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