FAO Liaison Office in New York

2019 World Food Day: PGA remarks

17/10/2019



 

World Food Day 2019

H.E. Tijjani Muhammad-Bande, President of the General Assembly

 

Excellencies,

Delegates,

Ladies & Gentlemen,

  • I am pleased to be here to mark this year’s World Food Day with you. I thank the organisers for providing a platform for this important conversation midway through the UN Decade of Action on Nutrition (2016-2025).
  • As President of the Seventy-Fourth Session of the General Assembly, zero hunger is one of my key priorities.
  • Food is central to the implementation of the SDGs. If there should be one element that it is necessary for us to work on, on a daily basis, it is whether or not we produce enough food that is available, affordable, and within the reach for all.
  • The SDGs are meant to be interlinked, and any action on one has implication for the others. We know that women and girls are disproportionately affected by food insecurity. We also know that hunger and malnutrition are inextricably linked to poverty. Moreover, food insecurity remains a key driver of conflict. Taking action on zero hunger means taking actions on all of Agenda 2030.
  • Hunger is a recurring challenge. For the past four years, hunger has been on the rise. One out of every nine people in the world is experiencing hunger.
  • We produce enough food to feed our global population however one third of food produced is wasted, and we are producing in an unsustainable manner.
  • The growing international focus on small-holders brings hope. It must entail the creation of ‘local food systems’, including linking producers with consumers through adequate infrastructure.
  • A robust food and agriculture policy will protect farmers against global food price fluctuations and serve three purposes: eradicate poverty, support sustainable agriculture, and meet global nutritional needs.  
  • Small farmers, herders, and fishermen produce about 70 percent of the global food supply. Yet, they remain vulnerable to food insecurity.
  • Global poverty is concentrated in rural areas, and as such policy interventions must address the needs of those living in rural poverty, those who are experiencing hunger on a daily basis.
  • When we have systems of food production that respect rights, that are connected to the environment and climate change, we are better able to achieve all the other goals.
  • Science and technology have the potential to increase food production. However, we have to contend with the challenge of shortage of agricultural land. This dictates the need to explore economically rational and socially sustainable land use options.
  • There is also a need to produce more fruits, vegetables and plant-based proteins to meet the global nutritional needs. The tilt towards grains and sugar needs to be reversed, from both supply and demand sides. The rising obesity rates and the increase in food related diseases both underscore the need to pay attention to diet and nutrition.
  • We must work on raising awareness to ensure availability, affordability and intake of nutrient rich foods.

Excellencies,

  • Nutrition advocacy should thus be mainstreamed into schools, development strategies, as well as agriculture and trade negotiations.
  • I am confident that by striving together, we will succeed in delivering for all.   I thank you!