The Global Hunger Index

Photo Credit: DFID/2012

MOTIVATION

Countries gauge economic performance by measuring gross domestic product (GDP). Measuring progress toward reducing hunger is far more complex. To rank countries and illustrate trends in hunger worldwide, IFPRI, Concern Worldwide, and Welthungerhilfe developed the Global Hunger Index (GHI), which captures four indicators of hunger: undernourishment, child wasting, child stunting, and child mortality.

RESULTS

Using data from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the World Health Organization (WHO), and UNICEF, the index ranks countries on a 100-point scale, with 0 being the best score (no hunger) and 100 being the worst. The GHI is updated annually to track progress. By highlighting this information, the index serves as a tool for mobilizing political will and promoting effective policies to combat hunger. For more than a decade, the GHI has helped to increase country accountability in order to reduce hunger and undernutrition.

OUTCOMES

  • The GHI Reports have attracted widespread media attention in a number of countries, gaining coverage from international media outlets and information services such as the BBC, Deutsche Welle, Reuters, Newsweek, the Financial Express (Noida, India), the Guardian (London), and the Indian Express (Noida, India). Demand for the GHI data and reports has also been high—there were more than 40,000 online views and 9,000 downloads for the 2015 and 2016 GHI Reports combined.
  • In BMZ’s report The 2030 Agenda: Global Future of the Sustainable Development Goals, the Global Policy Forum and Terre des Hommes suggested that the government use the GHI as one of the indexes to measure progress toward Sustainable Development Goal 2: End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition, and promote sustainable agriculture.
  • In a convocation speech at the G.B. Pant University of Agriculture and Technology in 2015, Indian president Shri Pranab Mukherjee called on India’s future leaders to improve the nutritional status of their people. In making his case, he presented data from the 2015 GHI Report, which ranked India 80th out of 104 countries.
  • Referencing the 2015 GHI Report that ranked Zambia as the third-hungriest country among those examined, the Zambian Civil Society Scaling Up Nutrition Alliance’s acting coordinator urged the Government of Zambia to intensify its nutrition interventions. In 2016, the executive director of the Non-Governmental Organizations’ Coordinating Council argued for increased investments in nutrition to improve Zambia’s GHI ranking.
  • In 2016, the National Human Rights Commission of India investigated the status of undernutrition and related deaths in the state of Madhya Pradesh. Based on the Commission’s report and other information, including the GHI, the High Court of Indore ordered the state government to act swiftly to prevent undernutrition and provide interim relief to the families where undernutrition-related deaths have been reported.
  • The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) uses the GHI as one of the indicators to identify Feed the Future "Focus Countries," which are given priority in funding and resource allocation.

"What exactly is it that makes our report [the Global Hunger Index] so distinctive? What is the reason behind the success? We think that it’s the extraordinary combination of an open-minded research institute—IFPRI—that doesn’t hide in an ivory tower and the down-to-earth organization[s] like ours and Concern that [have] extensive on-the-ground experience . . . How pleased we at Welthungerhilfe . . . are with the strong connection between IFPRI and Welthungerhilfe and what our collaboration has led to already."

Barbel Dieckmann, president of Welthungerhilfe, at IFPRI’s 40th Anniversary Celebration, November 18, 2015.

For more information on IFPRI's partnerships with Germany, please go to this brochure.