The 2014 Food Symposium will be taking place across town at PLU. Among the events taking place April 2-5, there is a talk by Yale philosopher Thomas Pogge, entitled “Hunger Games.” Here is a brief description of the talk:
Since the 1996 World Food Summit, the world has been committed to halving world hunger by 2015. But the specification of this promise has changed from the Summit version to the Millennium Declaration to the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). These revisions have dramatically diluted the promise, raising the number of hungry people deemed acceptable in 2015 by 55 percent. In a final push, in 2012 (year 22 of the 25-year MDG exercise) the FAO revised its methodology for counting the hungry with the effect of raising the 1990 number of hungry people by 157 million and lowering the 2010 number by 57 million. This switch harmonized the hunger numbers with the World Bank’s rosy poverty trend line and enabled the FAO to proclaim: “The Millennium Development Goal 1 hunger target, halving the proportion of hungry people in developing countries by 2015, is still within reach.” As new development goals are about to be formulated, we must urgently learn the lessons from the expiring ones which have brought mainly cosmetic efforts and cosmetic progress. The very least each of us owes to the world’s undernourished people is an honest recognition of what we are doing to them.