Excerpts from Child Charity News (Sos Children's Villages)
The food crisis the world experienced in 2008, compounded with the global economic recession that followed in 2009, pushed 100 million people into a state of hunger.
South Asia is home to 26% of the global population. Ensuring that the region’s vast population has sustainable access to food is a vital challenge of this generation.
Representatives from 20 Asian countries, international organizations (as well as the United States, and Japan) are presently attending a two-day FAO conference in Bangkok. One solution identified in combatting the region’s hunger is to create emergency reserves of staple food-grains such as rice. Trade-related solutions have also been proposed. In addition, the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation has plans to open a seed bank.
Food security is certainly not a new challenge. Academics and policy-makers have been concerned with issues of food production, distribution, prices and population for centuries. Today, as the world population is expected to hit 7 billion and 925 million people do not have enough food to eat, food security remains one of the most critical health issues of our day.
At present, malnutrition is a major obstacle to the good health of children in particular. About 50% of all underweight children in the world live in South Asia. A third of children in the region are still born with very low birth weights.
In response to the region’s mounting challenges from its high disease burden (which is related to chronic food insecurity) the World Health Organisation (WHO) has been calling for greater regional cooperation to improve the South Asian health sector.
In pursuit of this goal, the WHO has also convened a conference. The “Partners for Health in South-East Asia” conference will take place next week over March 16-18. Representatives from Bangladesh, Bhutan, North Korea, India, Indonesia, Maldives, Myanmar, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Timor-Leste are expected to attend the conference.
Representatives from donor countries, international organizations, charities and foundations are among other anticipated attendees.