Almost a billion people around the world experience hunger every day. This is more than before the food price crisis of 2008 and significantly higher than when hunger-reduction targets were set during the World Food Summit in 1996. Those targets envisioned a reduction, by half, in the number of hungry people by 2015.
Not only is the international community failing to achieve its modest goal, it is now confronting a setback that compels us to ask where we have gone wrong.
Bolivia is a country that boasts a government dedicated to social advancement.
It also enjoys increasing state revenues from oil and gas and enough productive land to feed its population. And yet, the United Nations reports that Bolivia still records the highest level of hunger in South America. Rights & Democracy hopes that this report will offer some useful reflections on the causes of hunger in Bolivia and about how a human rights perspective might offer some solutions.
The assessment mission to Bolivia was the fourth in a series undertaken by Rights & Democracy. The goal of the mission series was two-fold: first, to assess hunger and food insecurity in Bolivia from the human rights perspective; and second, to make practical recommendations for both government and civil society.
This report was written as a collaborative effort. Deepest appreciation is extended to the members of the mission delegation and their organizations, both international and national. We wish especially to acknowledge the contribution of our partner organization, the Coordinadora de Integracion de Organizaciones Economicas Campesina de Bolivia (CIOEC), without whom the mission could not have taken place. We also extend sincere thanks to Fundacion Tierra which coordinated the Santa Cruz site visit and to the Instituto de Formacion Femina Integral which organized the Cochabamba site visit. The Right to Food Unit at the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) provided technical support to the mission.
Members of the assessment mission wish to extend their special thanks to the many individuals and communities interviewed during our time in Bolivia. Their generosity and insights have inspired this report. Rights & Democracy sincerely hopes that the mission results will serve as a useful contribution to the valuable work already being done by the Government of Bolivia, its international partners and the many civil society organizations engaged in the service of their country.