World hunger – one of the ongoing topics, that seems to have been active forever… and it also seems that there is no solution to it. We all feel that ending it would cost too much money, demand too much work and sacrifice and, well, is practically impossible. But have you ever wondered how much it would actually cost to end it?
You may be surprised.
But before we reveal this awfully low number to you, first: some more info. Eliminating hunger has become one of the United Nations’ SDGs (meaning Sustainable Development Goals) – new goals the UN plans to fulfill once the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) expire. The SDGs will be finalized in September, but currently consist of 17 goals, and the second one is to “End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture”. If you want to see all the goals listed in one place, check this SDGs proposal out.
And now – the number.
According to the UN, it would only require $160 per year for each person that lives in extreme poverty – and this would eradicate world hunger by 2030. Wow! Didn’t see that coming, did you? So, we would need around $287 billion each year, which is around 0.3 percent of the global GDP. According to José Graziano da Silva, director general of the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization, this is a relatively small price to pay, don’t you agree?
The United Nations recommend that his money should be delivered through “pro-poor” investments, as well as cash transfers. The statistics say that nearly 800 million people in the world do not have enough to eat. The cash transfers should eliminate hunger immediately, they say, by bringing people to the World Bank’s poverty line of $1.25 per day. And to make sure the drop in hunger is sustainable, the “pro-poor” investments should help with infrastructure, irrigation, credit facilities, etc.
If you feel that $287 billion a year is too much money, try comparing it to something. For example, the U.S. war in Iraq has cost $1.7 trillion with an additional $490 billion in benefits owed to war veterans, which could grow to more than $6 trillion over the next forty years – according to Reuters. Or, another example – making the Lord of the Rings trilogy cost a total of $281 billion, while the Star Wars trilogy cost $343 billion. That puts things into perspective, doesn’t it?
And when it comes to billions, the U.S. defense budget in 2012 was $737 billion. These numbers seem so big but the thing is – they could save so many lives.
If the world’s richest people donated only tiny pieces of their money, they could help so many others. Poor nutrition causes 45% of deaths in children under five – a total of 3.1 million children each year. It could be stopped with much less than you would have expected. But it seems like today’s society only revolves around making more and more money and keeping it in a dark safe somewhere in a bank, and actually never using most of what could save so many lives.