Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific

Hiroyuki Konuma

FAO Regional Representative for Asia-Pacific

SPEECH

by

Hiroyuki Konuma
Assistant Director-General and
FAO Regional Representative for Asia and the Pacific

delivered at the

Launch of Zero Hunger Challenge Campaign

Bangkok, Thailand
29 April 2013

 

Honourable Prime Minister of Timor-Leste, H.E. Mr Kay Rala Xanana Gusmão,
Honourable Prime Minister of Solomon Islands, H.E. Mr Gordon Darcy Lilo,
Honourable Deputy Prime Minister of Thailand, H.E. Dr Yukol Limlamthong,
Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations, Mr. Jan Eliasson,
Executive Secretary of ESCAP, Ms Noeleen Heyzer,
Excellencies, Distinguished guests,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

I have the honour to welcome you to this historic launching of the “Asia and the Pacific Zero Hunger Challenge” today.

The world produces sufficient food to meet the need of everyone. Yet, despite of our efforts, progress in eradicating hunger has been very slow. The world is still a home of 868 million chronically hunger people. One in every eight people on the planet suffer from hunger, and one in every three children in developing world are stunted.

Asia and the Pacific Region continues to share the highest proportion of 62 percent of the world total. Indeed, nearly two-thirds of the total chronically hunger population live in this Region. The vast majority of them live in developing countries and they became increasingly vulnerable to food price hike and external shocks.

In addition, micronutrient malnutrition, or so-called “hidden hunger” is also affecting additional two billion people worldwide with serious public health problems, especially children in developing countries.

Excellencies,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

FAO estimates that the world has to increase food production by 60 percent or by 77 percent in developing countries alone by the year 2050 to meet the needs of increasing population. This has to be achieved from limited available arable lands which have a very little potential for future expansion and declining water resources.

In addition, there are number of critical challenges which need to be addressed such as decline in agricultural investment, stagnation of agricultural productivity growth, high post-harvest losses and food waste, negative impacts of climate changes and natural disasters, and increasing competition between food production and bio-energy production.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Today, we gather here to reaffirm our commitment to meet the challenges. There is no alternative, rather than moving forward to achieving the goal of hunger-free world, to ensure the fundamental human right for everyone, and world peace and stability.

Our history shows that Asia and the Pacific Region has successfully reduced the proportion of hunger from 34 percent in 1970 to 17 percent in 2000 through the Green Revolution. I believe that the MDG Goal No.1 hunger target in halving the proportion of extreme hunger by 2015 and the Zero Hunger Goal in eradicating hunger in our lifetime would be achievable, if we harness our wisdom and learn from past lessons, ensure inclusiveness and sustainability, mobilize strong political commitments, and double our efforts and work together as a team for concerted efforts.

Finally, I wish to express our gratitude to Ms Noeleen Heyzer, Executive Secretary of ESCAP for her leadership under the Regional Coordination Mechanism, as well as UNDP and other UN Agencies for their effective partnership and teamwork in lauching this historical campaign.

It is not a dream. It is our obligation for our children. Let us work together.

Now, I am pleased to invite you to a video message of Mr José Graziano da Silva, Director-General of FAO.

Thank you.