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The Hunger And Nutrition Commitment Index (HANCI 2012) Measuring the Political Commitment to Reduce Hunger and Undernutrition in Developing Countries

Dolf te Lintelo et al.
Publication year: 
Source of the information: 
IDS Sussex University


The HANCI compares 45 developing countries for their performance on 22 indicators of political commitment to reduce hunger and undernutrition. It looks at three areas of government action:
  • Policies and programmes 
  • Legal frameworks 
  • Public expenditures


The HANCI separately measures commitment to reduce hunger and commitment to reduce undernutrition, because hunger and undernutrition are not the same thing. Hunger is the result of an empty stomach and is caused by people having insufficient income or social and economic entitlements to access food. Hunger makes people more susceptible to disease and thus leads to increased illness and death. Hunger strongly undermines development. To ‘cope’ with hunger families can be forced to sell vital assets, such as farming tools, often perpetuating their vulnerability to hunger. Hunger can mean that children (particularly girls) are taken out of school so they can work; it causes communities to migrate away from their homes and, at worst, leads to permanent destitution, prostitution and child trafficking. Hunger also contributes to the onset of armed conflict (Foresight Project 2011, p.3). 
Undernutrition is related to, though subtly different from, hunger. 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. Undernutrition results from both a critical lack of nutrients in people’s diets and a weakened immune system. In a vicious cycle, poor nutritional intake can make people more susceptible to infectious diseases whilst exposure to disease can lower people’s appetite and nutrient absorption. Undernutrition in the first 1,000 days of a child’s life (from conception until the age of two) has lifelong and largely irreversible impacts because it impairs a child’s physical and mental development. (...)

The Hunger And Nutrition Commitment Index draws on secondary data (owned by governments) and complements this with primary data on expert and community perspectives on political commitment in Bangladesh, Malawi and Zambia.We situate levels of political commitment within specific country contexts, such as their levels of wealth and economic growth, government effectiveness and, not least, their hunger and undernutrition