UN World Food Programme

World hunger can stop in our lifetime, says Josette Sheeran

In an interview published by the Reuters news agency on Wednesday, WFP Executive Director Josette Sheeran said that the world has an historic opportunity to stop starvation.

In an interview published by the Reuters news agency on Wednesday, WFP Executive Director Josette Sheeran said that the world has an historic opportunity to stop starvation.

 

Pictures of children with swollen bellies will be a thing of history

Josette Sheeran, WFP Executive Director

"I think we can, in our lifetime, win the battle against hunger because we now have the science, technology, know-how and the logistics to be able to meet hunger where it comes," said Sheeran, who took up office as WFP's 11th Executive Director earlier this month.

 

"Those pictures of children with swollen bellies will be a thing of history."

Progress

Progress in areas like seed technology, soils and irrigation means that "in almost every case we do have the scientific understanding, knowledge and ability if we could pull together the strategy and resources to do so", she said.

"Never before in history have all those things come together as a possibility."

WFP's Executive Director was speaking to Reuters during her April 18 visit to WFP's humanitarian response depot at Brindisi in southern Italy.

Emergency assistance

U.N. data shows no significant reduction in the number of hungry since 1990. On the contrary, the number of hungry people in the world -- 854 million -- is on the rise. Four million more people are malnourished each year than the year before.

"With climate change, with the challenges we are having with conflicts, we see more people needing emergency assistance," said Sheeran, whose first field trip as Executive Director will be to Ethiopia, Darfur, southern Sudan and Chad next week.

The Reuters interview was also carried in Australia's Sydney Morning Heraldand The Age.