Tell us your vision of how we can arrive there
At the turn of this century, far too many people in the world lived a miserable life. They suffered from severe diseases, had too little to eat, had no education, and all in all faced continual distress because they lived in poverty. Children, young people, women, and men all suffered alike. Here are some sad figures: 1.3 billion people lived in poverty; 800 million had too little to eat throughout the year.
Most people knew all this and felt worried; probably you did too, even if you were only a child then. In the year 2000, leaders of the world's nations got together in the United Nations, discussed these problems, and decided that the world must change the situation. They adopted the Millennium Declaration, a peaceful "declaration of war" on all these troubles. The Declaration had eight sections, each one describing a problem and setting a goal of doing much better by 2015.
The first goal (Millennium Development Goal Number One) deals with poverty and hunger. The Declaration states that the proportion of people living in poverty and hunger should be halved by 2015—eight years from now! The proportions should be counted for the whole world and also nation by nation. Since 2000, much progress has been made in some countries—China is a strong example—and we will probably reach the goal for the world as a whole. But many countries, not least in Africa, will have a lot of trouble halving hunger and poverty by 2015. So we are facing an immediate problem: How can we make the vision come true in all nations? And we are facing a long-term problem: How can we go beyond the 2015 goals and "make poverty and hunger history," as the saying goes?
Think hard, think creatively, think personally, use words loaded with facts, vision, poetry—whatever works for you—and share your thoughts with us about how to overcome these problems. We will need and use your thoughts when leaders from many corners of the world meet in China in October to reflect and advise on how we can attack even more decisively the problems of hunger and poverty. (For more information on the conference: www.ifpri.org/2020ChinaConference/index.htm.)
This is your chance to make your voice heard, to show that you too are worried, and to share with others your commitment and solutions, maybe even dreams, for a better, fairer future for all.