Among all non profit organizations dedicated to eliminating widespread hunger, the UN World Food Program is probably the best known in any country or territory.
The World Food Program is the section of the United Nations that is dedicated to researching and controlling the way people around the world interact with food. One of the most pressing topics being discussed by the Food Program is the extremely damaging effect long periods of hunger can have on individuals, families, and even whole communities. On the topic of global hunger, the Food program has recently been involved in research and advocacy of three specific issues:
1. Effects of Changing Environments
In recent years, the shape and climate of the world has begun to undergo rapid and dramatic changes. These transformations are largely the result of industrial practices, and include things like mass deforestation, the melting of polar caps, the intensification of storms, and the gradual desertification of many grasslands. All of these modifications add up to the fact that the world is beginning to look significantly different from the planet humans have known for many thousand years.
The Food Program has put a significant amount of resources into predicting what the environment will look like in the next century. This is a necessary precaution, as many traditional farming techniques have already become obsolete and further climate change may render much of what we know about crop cultivating useless. In this event, it is important to have a contingency plan for food production that will hopefully ease the negative effects of a rapidly diminishing food source.
2. How to Feed Displaced Populations
Right now, millions of people live in refugee camps, displaced from their native homes by continued violent warfare and serious natural disasters. These populations have access to very few amenities, and often suffer from appalling rates of starvation and death by disease.
The United Nations has a great responsibility to aid refugees who exist within a legal no man’s land, and has devoted much research into finding out better ways to prevent hunger within these camps. This can be a real challenge, as most individuals in refugee camps have limited access to water and little to no access to heat. As a result, all foods must be edible and nourishing with little preparation.
3. The Long Term Effects of Hunger
While people have gone hungry in significant numbers for all of human history, the concrete health effects extended hunger has on the body are not well understood. The World Food Program employs a great number of health specialists, who are tasked with determining what periodic and chronic starvation do to the bodily systems. This information will help doctors better treat those who have suffered from hunger for long periods of time, as well as telling the UN what measures must be adopted to combat the negative effects of hunger.
The UN World Food Program is not the only body working to eliminate hunger through research and legislation, but its sheer size makes it a force to be reckoned with in this regard. Its goal is to drastically reduce the number of hungry people in the next few years, and with consistent focus and support, it will be able to do so.