Worldwide, nearly 870 million people -- one in eight -- are chronically undernourished according to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization. The sad reality is that the world produces enough food to feed everyone, but not everyone has access to it, and one-third of food is wasted. This is simply unacceptable.
Yet there are signs of progress and hope as the proportion of undernourished people in developing countries has dropped from 23 percent in 1990-1992 to just under 15 percent in 2010-2012. Now our challenge is to protect -- and accelerate -- this progress against potential threats, including the economic crises of recent years.
So what more can be done to bend the curve farther and faster?
The Hult Prize, with support from President Bill Clinton, has turned to one of the world's greatest resources: the ingenuity of our young people.
Last year, President Clinton issued a challenge to university students around the world to create a social enterprise that will address food insecurity in very poor urban areas, which are often marginalized and left out of progress. More than 10,000 students from more than 150 countries answered this call-to-action.
On Monday, at the Clinton Global Initiative, I will have the chance to join a group of judges to hear from the six teams chosen as finalists. The winner will receive $1 million in start-up seed funding to help turn their idea into a reality.
Based on previous winners, I'm excited for their proposals. In 2011, a team from the University of Cambridge came up with a plan to use a mobile-based loyalty program to bring clean water to underserved communities. That plan is now a start-up company.
Young entrepreneurs like the ones participating in the Hult Prize bring new ideas, fresh thinking, and innovative solutions to long-standing problems like hunger and food insecurity.
We need their engagement more than ever. The simple truth is governments alone won't be able to solve the world's big challenges -- we will need the creativity and enthusiasm of the world's largest-ever youth generation.
With fewer than 850 days until the target date for the Millennium Development Goals -- the world's shared agenda to fight poverty -- now is the time for all of us to come together and do everything we can to improve lives around the world. Change-makers like the participants in the Hult Prize will help drive our success - and a better future.
This blog post is part of a series produced by The Huffington Post and The Hult Prize, an international competition that awards $1 million to a student team of entrepreneurs for social good. The prize will be presented by former-President Bill Clinton at the Clinton Global Initiative annual meeting in New York City on September 23. For more information about The Hult Prize, click here.
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