The tragedy of hunger in the midst of plenty is still a stark reality in today's world. In virtually every country, there are groups of people who cannot realize their full human potential, either because their diets are inadequate or, because of sickness, their bodies are unable to benefit fully from the food they consume. In the poorest countries, the majority of people are affected by hunger, greatly magnifying the dimensions of other correctable defects in efforts to meet basic human needs. "The State of Food Insecurity in the World" monitors the progress made each year towards fulfilment of the basic right of all human beings to live without fear of hunger or malnutrition. This third issue conveys a mixed message: progress has been made in reducing the absolute number of hungry people in the world, but this is not happening fast enough to achieve the 1996 World Food Summit target - that of halving the number of hungry people by 2015.