Reporter Claire Provost of the Guardian breaks down more figures from the report.
"The good news … is the hunger target of MDG one is achievable," said Jomo Kwame Sundaram, assistant director general for economic and social development at the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO). "There has been more progress than previously thought, and we're within striking distance."
Significantly, the figures do not show an increase in global hunger following the recent food price and economic crises. However, the report finds that from 2007 there has been "a significant slowdown" in progress, bringing hunger reduction "essentially to a halt for the developing countries as a whole". This will need to be reversed if the MDG is to be met, it says.
Tempering premature celebrations further, the report says the number of hungry people in the world "remains unacceptably high".
There are stark variations between regions. The figures put Asia and the Pacific, as well as Latin America and the Caribbean, almost on track for achieving their MDG hunger targets. Undernourishment in sub-Saharan Africa has improved less rapidly, and western Asia has seen an increase in the percentage of hungry people.
The report, launched by three UN food agencies ahead of the Committee on World Food Security meetings in Rome next week, calls for investment in smallholder farmers, "nutrition-sensitive" policies, and the creation of comprehensive social protection systems that target the poor.