One in four of the world’s children have stunted growth – meaning their body and brain has failed to develop properly due to malnutrition. Eighty percent of stunted children live in just four countries, BBC wrote a news captioned 500m children’ at risk of effects of malnutrition on a survey conducted by Save the Children, UK which covered families in Bangladesh, Peru, Pakistan and Nigeria. One third of parents surveyed said, their children complained about not having enough food to eat while many families could not effort meat, milk and vegetables for their children caused for malnutrition. The survey suggests much more needs to be done to tackle malnutrition in the world’s poorest countries.
The agency wants the UK to lead the way in reducing hunger and protecting children from food price rises – starting with a Hunger Summit when world leaders are in London for the Olympics. Is the hope of hunger summit enough to bring a positive change against hunger? We are afraid to think positively for outcome of the hunger summit while we found about 1600 economic and political leaders including 40 heads of state failed to agree an alternative economic model for progress at World Economic Forum (WEF) held in last month at Davos, Switzerland.
“20th century strength of the western economy had already failed to live up to its promises to rich world workers. Governments made a ton of promises in the 1960s, when growth was very high. We had the welfare state across the industrial world. And then growth started falling off in the 70s, in the 80s. Some countries, the UK and the US, tried to revive it through deregulation and managed for a while, but in general growth is too slow in the industrial world relative to the promises we have made.” said Professor Raghuram Rajan of University of Chicago at World Economic Forum.
The world of hunger is a result of contemporary global economic policy adopted by most of the nation state which should ratify in demand of solution of contemporary crisis. Strong voices on alternative economic model came to the table of discussion at WEF, but it did not reflect in the policy decision due to dominance of riches particularly USA. Will the hunger summit able to convince the global leaders for a sustainable solution like alternative economic model?
The policy implementer of free-market capitalism as well as World Economic Forum like World Bank, International Monetary Fund, Asian Development Bank continuously pressured the economically poor nations to reform the national policies in line of free market policy. Is it reducing world hunger? Recently Bangladesh is going to place a new VAT law in parliament which added 15 percent VAT in all level of purchasing for fulfilling the conditions of IMF. It means, cost of living of ordinary people will increase more if the new VAT law implemented from next fiscal year and hungry people will increase more.
The landless and small farms are producing food in the field, but they are not getting prices for their production. In this situation, World Bank is continuously pressuring the government to reduce the agricultural subsidy. It means, small and marginalized farmers will become poor to poorer. Will it reduce the world hunger?
All the policy prescriptions of IFIs as well as free market advocates increase poverty and hunger worldwide. So the world huger summit should let them hear this message to formulate an alternative economic model which will enable the world poor to overcome the poverty. If we fail, then hunger summit will be an event as usual. We should keep it mind.