Current Affairs: According to a study released by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and a partner agency on International Mountain Day, while global hunger figures are declining, the number of food insecure people in mountain areas rose 30 per cent over 12 years to nearly 330 million.
That means that one in three mountain people, both urban and rural, in developing countries faced hunger and malnutrition, compared to one out of nine people globally, FAO said.
The UN General Assembly designated 11 December International Mountain Day and as of 2003, it has been observed every year to create awareness about the importance of mountains to life, to highlight the opportunities and constraints in mountain development and to build alliances that will bring positive change to mountain peoples and environments around the world.
This year, FAO, together with Mountain Partnership, mapped the vulnerability of highland peoples to food insecurity and found that the number of food insecure people living in mountain regions in developing countries grew to nearly 329 million in 2012, up from 253 million in 2000, even though the overall population of the world’s mountain peoples increased only by 16 per cent.
Mountain zones cover 22 per cent of the earth’s land surface and are home to 13 per cent of the human population, according to FAO.
The study showed that the growing profile of hunger is not the only challenge that mountain-dwellers face, reporting that 90 per cent of them live in developing countries where most are dependent on subsistence agriculture, working in fragile ecosystems that are easily affected by climate change.
Almost 59 million mountain people in Africa were identified as vulnerable to food insecurity in 2000, a number that increased 46 per cent to 86 million by 2012, according to the study. The majority of vulnerable people are located in eastern Africa.