THE Millennium Development Goals that ended in 2015 has as its top goal to eradicate extreme poverty and hunger, while the transformational vision of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development calls on all countries and stakeholders to work together to end hunger and prevent all forms of malnutrition by 2030.
Except that... United Nation's 2017 The State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World reported that there appears to be a resurgence in hunger.
"The failure to reduce world hunger is closely associated with the increase in conflict and violence in several parts of the world," the report said. The Philippines is among those listed as affected by conflict and violence. This is exacerbated by climate-related shocks, of which the Philippines is also not spared from.
In terms of nutrition, there is the growing number of obese children and adults alike.
"The estimated number of undernourished people increased to 815 million in 2016, up from 777 million in 2015," the report said. Although there is already a decline, stunting due to malnutrition among children affect one out of four under five years old in the world and wasting continues to threaten the lives of 52-million children. A third of women of reproductive age suffer from anemia while child overweight and adult obesity are on the rise worldwide.
"Multiple forms of malnutrition are coexisting, with countries experiencing simultaneously high rates of child undernutrition and adult obesity," the report further added.
Clearly, the problem is real. Made more so indeed by conflicts. We can just wonder how the evacuees of Marawi City are faring and how much of the vital nutrients they need everyday are they getting. Then there are the others affected by pocket gun battles.
It is indeed timely that the Davao City government has created the peace body to try to negotiate for peace with local rebels. From Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio's statements, it appears that she is targeting the combatants who feel the brunt of the injustices that they have taken arms against and not the leaders who are enjoying their lives in their comfortable homes and air-conditioned offices.
The appeal is for the future of the children, the peace of communities that will ensure better chances of growth and development for the future.
"I am asking our NPA friends to work with us in the local government. After all, we all want to see a better Davao and we surely can attain this if you work beside us,” the mayor said.
It is also clear that the mayor wants to achieve something within a year and does not intend to pander to the delaying tactics of those who have other agenda other than real peace as the peace body created is only good until November 2018.
The hunger and sufferings have dragged on for too long, there is no reason to drag our feet any longer. Now, if only those who profess to be bleeding for the state of the poor in the mountains would just stand aside and let real progress come in.
Published in the SunStar Davao newspaper on September 18, 2017.
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