Lebanon ranks fourth out of all Arab countries for the lowest percentage of undernourished people in the UNDP’s latest report. The chapter “Hunger, nutrition and human security,” mostly focused on the inability of the Arab region to meet its United Nations Millennium Development Goals (MDG) – pledges to halve the percentage of each country’s hungry population by 2015. It also offered suggestions for reducing poverty levels.
The average percentage of hungry people in the Arab region is 12.7 percent, not significantly lower than the proportion of the 1990 figure of 13.2 percent.
“This implies that the MDG target is unlikely to be met by 2015,” the report read.
Like the much of the Arab region, Lebanon’s hunger rate has slightly risen since 1990 and the country looks unlikely to be able to meet its hunger reduction pledge. Despite this, the country’s overall percentages for hunger and undernourished, 3 percent, were 0.5 percent away from benchmark that the UN considers a non-significant humanitarian problem for developing nations.
Lebanon’s undernourishment calculations are some of the lowest in the region and are only slightly behind Tunisia, Libya and the United Arab Emirates – places where the report says “hunger does not constitute a humanitarian problem.” It also had the lowest percentage of low weight births and stunted children.
The report also makes suggestions for countries to reduce the increased poverty levels. It focuses mainly on Arab financial integration where states would provide each other with resources they required.
Previous attempts at economic integration have “made no significant progress,” according to the report.
Other suggestions included benefit programs for the poor, increased education, and better water and energy management.
The Arab region is only one of two areas in the world where the number of undernourished has risen since the beginning of the 1990s, but also has the lowest number of undernourished people in the developing world, according to the report.
Despite ranking well in the report, Lebanon has pockets of severe poverty and hunger, particularly in the northern regions of Akkar and Baalbeck where resources are scarce and the humanitarian issues are the worst in the nation.
Lebanon ranks 18th among developing nations in the UNDP Human Development poverty index.