New estimates today from the Food and Agriculture Organisation which show that the number of hungry people has gone down by 26 million in the last year is good news but highlight that the fight against hunger is progressing alarmingly slowly, said Oxfam.
The figures also show the number of hungry people in both Sub Saharan Africa and West Asia has increased by 1 million compared to 2008/9 estimates.
Oxfam's food and agriculture advisor, Luca Chinotti, said:
"Any decrease in the number of hungry men, women and children has got to be good news. However the fact that 842 million people - more than the population of the US and the EU combined - are still not getting enough to eat in a world of plenty remains the biggest scandal of our time.
"Global progress on tackling hunger is alarmingly slow with some regions experiencing a rise in hunger in the last few years as a result, in part, of repeated food crises and food price rises. At the current rate it will take 10 more years to achieve the objective agreed at the World Food Summit in 1996 to halve the number of hungry people by 2015. Governments must also up the ante if we are to achieve the relatively un-ambitious Millennium Development Goal of halving the proportion of people living in hunger by 2015.
"We know that eradicating hunger is possible and we know what needs to be done - the only thing standing in the way is a lack of political will.
"These figures should shame governments into action. They must agree to eradicate hunger by 2025 and put in the resources and policies needed to make it happen. They should start by agreeing at next week's meeting of the Committee on World Food Security to scrap biofuels mandates and incentives that are fuelling hunger."
Notes to editors
Please contact Anna Ratcliff - firstname.lastname@example.org or +44 7796 993 288 - for more information or to arrange interviews. Spokespeople available in Rome and around the globe.
Meeting the MDGs target of halving the proportion of hungry people by 2015 would require bringing the number of hungry people down to 810 million by 2015.
Meeting the objective set at the World Food Summit in 1996 to halve the number of hungry people compared to 1990 levels would require bringing the number of hungry people down to 498 million by 2015.
The population of the US is 316.7 million and the population of the European Union is 508 million