More than one billion people around the world are starving and thousands die every day as a result of malnutrition. The causes of hunger are manifold. They include climate change, environmental destruction, wars, corruption, unfair trading conditions, poverty and lack of ownership and usage rights for the land.
At the World Food Summit in Rome in 1996, the Community of Nations adopted an action plan to reduce the number of people suffering from hunger worldwide by half by 2015. This goal was reaffirmed at several follow-up conferences and in particular in the United Nations Millennium Declaration in 2000. However, achieving this target will require a far greater commitment than has been the case to date. In the fight against hunger, the following questions are quintessential:
- What are the causes of hunger and how can they be eliminated?
- What would be a more efficient use of the agricultural potential in developing countries?
- How can the industrialised countries be taken up on their promises?
- How can consumers in the industrialised countries contribute to reduce hunger in the world?
- What are ways to implement the principle of self-help sustainably?
- How can we shape fair trading conditions?
The German Ethics Council addressed these questions at its Annual Meeting together with scientists and practitioners. The meeting presented positive examples of how food security in developing countries can be improved to illustrate the possibilities for change. The focus was on the ethical dimension of the problem of world food supply and the resulting options for action.