Reaching the Missing Middle

Hunger and malnutrition are not problems exclusive to low income countries. That is why the international community cannot realise its ambitious international agenda of achieving zero hunger and malnutrition without a renewed focus on countries in economic transition where hunger and malnutrition remain.

The majority of the world’s hungry and malnourished population now live in Middle Income Countries (MICs). For these countries to best fulfil their vital role in supporting zero hunger and malnutrition, they must promote effective country-led strategies that will reduce hunger and malnutrition at home.

Renewed Focus on Hunger and Malnutrition

2014-2015 Global Food Policy Report - IFPRI

International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) Director General Shenggen Fan and WFP Executive Director Ertharin Cousin have co-authored a chapter of the IFPRI 2014-2015 Global Food Policy Report entitled “Overcoming Hunger and Malnutrition in Middle Income Countries,” (PDF 310 KB) which brings renewed focus on the issues of hunger and malnutrition in countries in economic transition where hunger and malnutrition remain.

This chapter is a piece of the puzzle that discusses national zero hunger and malnutrition strategies in the context of the Post-2015 Sustainable Development Agenda. By eradicating hunger and malnutrition within their own borders, these countries can make a significant contribution to the achievement of global food security and nutrition targets and, at the same time, serve as resources for other countries implementing zero hunger strategies and plans. With this report and agenda, WFP reinforces its commitment to work in countries in economic transition where issues of hunger and nutrition remain.

Eliminating hunger and malnutrition should be a top priority for these countries, particularly for those with increasing global influence and large numbers of hungry and malnourished people.

Engaging the Development Sector

WFP is prioritising these issues by investing time, energy, and developing crucial partnerships within the development sector. 

To ensure that these discussions are as inclusive as possible, WFP launched the report during an informal session hosted by Assistant Executive Director Ramiro Lopes da Silva at WFP headquarters in Rome on Friday 17 April, 2015. The session featured a panel discussion on fighting hunger in Middle-Income Countries, which included the Permanent Representatives from China and India as panelists.

IFPRI Director General Shenggen Fan told the Rome meeting: “The Rome-based agencies have a key role to play. We have had strong support from WFP, IFAD and FAO.” Individual governments, meanwhile, “can lead, can own, can drive their own agendas.”

"We know from experience that the eradication of hunger cannot be achieved by economic growth alone,” said Ertharin Cousin, WFP Executive Director, via a video message. “Achieving zero hunger requires that we not only focus on the least-developed countries. We must also address the challenges of the vulnerable and hungry poor, regardless of their geographic location.”