UNITED NATIONS, 17 October — World Food Day, which aims to raise awareness of the issues behind poverty and hunger, was celebrated around the world on Friday, with UN leaders calling for international solidarity and cooperation to help all populations helps, especially the most vulnerable, to recover from the coronavirus crisis.
While Secretary-General Antonio Guterres issued a message emphasizing the need for unity, the President of the General Assembly, Ambassador Volkan Bozkir of Turkey, and the President of the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), Ambassador Munir Akram of Pakistan, addressed a special meeting. in New York to celebrate the occasion.
In his message, the UN chief said that efforts should be made to ensure sustainable and healthy diets for all, and to minimize food waste.
“In a world of abundance, it is a serious insult that hundreds of millions go to bed hungry every night,” the secretary general said, adding that the COVID-19 pandemic has further increased food insecurity to a level not seen in decades. has not been seen.
“About 130 million people are on the brink of starvation by the end of this year,” Guterres said. ‘This is in addition to the 690 million people who already have enough to eat.
The Secretary-General noted that next year he would convene a summit on food systems to stimulate action towards this vision, saying: “we need to make food systems more resistant to volatility and climate shocks.”
‘And we need food systems that provide decent, safe living for workers. “We have the expertise and the ability to create a more resilient, just and sustainable world,” he said.
“On this World Food Day, let’s make a commitment to ‘Grow, feed and sustain’. Together. ‘”
Bozkir, the GA president, began by acknowledging the role of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) as the oldest of the UN’s specialized agencies, and the critical role it played in addressing hunger and nutrition to improve.
He also notes the contribution of ‘food heroes’: ‘from farmers and workers of food chains to managers, shop assistants and food bank representatives, including here in New York, has helped millions of people provide food and nutrition in difficult times.’
The president of GA saw the Food Systems Summit as an opportunity to accelerate reforms and remove barriers to the end of the famine, and called on young people to be empowered to be the next generation of leaders and reformers in the agricultural and food supply chains. to become.
ECOSOC President Munir Akram noted that the loss of income that many have suffered since the COVID-19 pandemic has mostly affected the poor, who spend most of their income on food.
“The cutbacks have affected food security and jeopardized access to food,” Ambassador Akram said, adding, “The poor and vulnerable are most affected, as they spend on average 70% of their total income on food.”
The world, the ECOSOC chief warned, was not on track to achieve any hunger, the second of the UN’s sustainable development goals, even before the pandemic spread.
COVID-19, he said, would mean that there would still be millions of malnourished people around the world, and that about 144 million children would have a stunted growth.
Some key issues need to be addressed, Ambassador Akram said. These include the non-interruption of the supply of supply chains, the investment in sustainable agricultural infrastructure and the ensuring of fair trade.
Technology that enables sustainable agriculture must be made available to poorer farmers, and the kinds of subsidies that have led to chronic overproduction, making it impossible for smallholder farmers to compete in the market, must be stopped, he said.
“Only by working together can we better rebuild, get back on track to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and reduce vulnerabilities to future shocks and disasters,” added ECOSOC chief.
World Food Day is an international day celebrated around the world on October 16 every year in honor of the founding date of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations in 1945. The day is widely celebrated by many other organizations that dealing with food. security, including the World Food Program and the International Fund for Agricultural Development.
The World Food Program has received the Nobel Peace Prize for the year 2020 for its efforts to combat hunger, contribute to making peace in conflict areas and to play the role of driving the use of hunger in the form of a weapon for war and conflict.