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IFPRI launches global initiative to end hunger, undernutrition by 2025

WASHINGTON, Nov. 19 (Xinhua) -- The International Food Policy Institute (IFPRI) has launched an ambitious global initiative to end hunger and undernutrition by 2025, IFPRI director-general Shenggen Fan said here Thursday.

By working through knowledge, data, capacity and research support, the so-called "Compact2015" initiative will partner with countries to accelerate the progress toward eliminating hunger and undernutrition by 2025, Fan said at a press briefing at IFPRI headquarters in Washington D.C.

Acknowledging that about 785 million poor people in the world do not have enough to eat at present, Fan said one of this global initiative's goals is to "reduce that to almost zero" by 2025.

"Absolute zero is not possible, but the ambition is to reduce the level of hunger and undernutrition" in developing countries to the level seen in many developed countries right now, he said.

A lot of African and Asian countries have "strong political wills" to achieve that goal, but they need capacity-building support to translate political wills into actual implementation of policies and programs, he added.

"We know what has worked to reduce hunger and undernutrition in many countries around the world. With Compact2025, we can share this knowledge and ensure that every country has the knowledge and tools it needs to end hunger and undernutrition," Fan said, noting that China could offer great lessons for other countries in these areas.

"One is smallholder farm-led agricultural growth (in China) from 1978 to 1984 by decentralizing land use to farmers, by liberalizing the market. So farmers were able to produce more, and agriculture was growing at 6-7 percent a year," Fan told Xinhua. "That reduced the number of hungry people, poor people, by more than a half. That's a critical success."

Hunger and undernutrition have imposed enormous human and economic costs. Some 20,000 people, more than half of whom are children, die every day from hunger-related causes, according to the IFPRI.

Rwanda, Ethiopia, Malawi and Bangladesh are the first four countries to partner with Compact2025, and they are committed to learn from the successes of other countries to rapidly ending hunger and undernutrition.

Fan said Compact2025 plans to attract more countries, such as the Democratic Republic of the Congo and India, to join this initiative after learning experiences about "how to work with the initial four countries".

Gao Min, an Olympic Gold Medalist in diving who served as Compact2025's first ambassador, said Compact2025 is a big idea that can help millions of people and she hopes to inspire more people to help make it happen.

As an international research organization, the IFPRI was established in 1975 to identify and analyze alternative national and international strategies and policies for meeting the food needs of the developing world, with particular focus on low-income countries.

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