Such attention is in itself an encouraging step forward, but actual progress is still painfully slow, even though measures to improve the livelihoods of the poor are affordable.
Hunger and food insecurity - the most serious forms of extreme poverty - have now become international priorities, and participants in the 1996 World Food Summit made a solemn commitment to halve hunger in the world by 2015.2.
Progress in poverty reduction has been concentrated in Asia and especially East Asia.
In all the other regions, the number of people in extreme poverty has increased.
It is not always understood, however, that hunger and malnutrition (including micronutrient deficiencies) are in turn major causes of poverty.
They affect the ability of individuals to escape poverty in several ways (Box 1) through: Chronically undernourished people are, therefore, caught in a hunger trap of low productivity, chronic poverty and hunger. During the last decade, food insecurity and malnutrition appear to have contributed to an increasing frequency of crisis events as well as to the vulnerability of countries to shocks.Progress in reducing the number of undernourished has been alarmingly slow.The target set at the 1996 World Food Summit was to halve the number of undernourished people by 2015 from their number in 1990-92.The Millennium Declaration of 2000 consolidates and restates the commitments agreed during the preceding decade, and can be seen as the final stage of the Summit process.For the first time in a document of its kind, it stresses that, without policies and mechanisms to mobilise private and public resources on a much larger scale, the internationally agreed Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) for reducing poverty and hunger and for social and sustainable development cannot be achieved.In sub-Saharan Africa, there were 58 million more poor people in 1999 than in 1990. World Bank projections (World Bank, 2001) show that by 2015, the proportion of people living below the one-dollar-a-day poverty line will be 12.3 percent as compared to 29.0 percent in 1990 - well below half the 1990 proportion.The projections assume substantially higher economic growth rates than experienced in the recent past.This paper looks at financing for the achievement of the MDGs.It does so from the perspective of FAO, IFAD and WFP, the three Rome-based United Nations organizations working on food, agriculture, and rural development issues.Most of today's armed conflicts and natural disasters are concentrated in regions heavily dependent on agriculture and in countries with a high proportion of food-insecure households and classified by FAO as "low-income food deficit".15.As well as being a consequence of a conflict, food insecurity can be the cause and lead to conflict.