About HANCI

What is HANCI

The Hunger And Nutrition Commitment Index (HANCI) is a project of the Institute of Development Studies’ (IDS) with funding from Irish Aid, UKAid and CIFF. The project produces an annual index that ranks governments on their political commitment to tackling hunger and undernutrition. We also work with partners in 6 countries to analyse government action on hunger and undernutrition in more detail and to support advocacy.

What is hunger and undernutrition?

Hunger and undernutrition are not the same thing. Hunger is the result of an empty stomach. Hunger makes people more susceptible to disease and thus leads to increased illness and death.

Undernutrition is related to, though subtly different from, hunger. Undernutrition results from both a critical lack of nutrients in people’s diets and a weakened immune system.

Undernutrition is not only a consequence of hunger, but can also exist in the absence of hunger, and can be caused by non-food factors.

Why measure political commitment to hunger and undernutrition?

Hunger and undernutrition are amongst the most persistent global development challenges. Global numbers of undernourished people have been static at 870 million for the past 5 years and one in eight people do not get enough food to be healthy and lead an active life. Undernutrition contributes to 2.6 million deaths of children under five each year – one third of the global total.

In developing countries, hunger and undernutrition have hugely detrimental social and economic effects and thwart efforts to reduce poverty. For example when faced with hunger, families can be forced to sell vital possessions, such as farming tools, in order to buy food. Selling assets often perpetuates vulnerability to hunger.

There are many reasons for insufficient progress in reducing hunger and undernutrition. One of these is a lack of political will or political prioritisation.  Strong and high level political commitment is essential to prioritise the fight against hunger and undernutrition.