Global food security is most severe in the developing world, where the proportion of underweight children under 5 years of age declined only marginally from 31 percent to 26 percent between 1990 and 2008. The UN Millennium Development Goals have largely focused on the treatment of malnutrition, with an emphasis on the health sector. Other strategies such as improved productivity of staple grains and increasing local horticulture are important; however, the multi-sector approach that addresses the longer-term drivers of under-nutrition remain central to combating global hunger.
A multi-sectoral approach brings together a coherent range of strategies with the aim of enhancing food and nutrition security. These necessarily include interventions in agriculture and business development, health care, clean water, hygiene and sanitation, basic infrastructure, gender equality, and education.
Successful strategies have focused primarily on the treatment of malnutrition and have found that the problems of hunger and malnutrition are deeply rooted within the health sector. Major strategies to tackle under-nutrition rely on the production of staple grains within the agriculture sector, although a comprehensive strategy to address under-nutrition will also require countries to increase the availability and reduce the cost of nutritious food beyond just staple crops and cereals.