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FAO Director-General: Climate change, poverty, hunger and inequality are interrelated

Graziano da Silva addresses high-level dialogue at UN Sustainable Development Summit

25 September 2015, New York - Agriculture and rural development need a major boost if we want to achieve the 2030 globally-agreed goals of eradicating hunger and extreme poverty, a challenge made more complex by climate change, FAO Director-General Graziano da Silva, said today.

"This will require drastic changes in how we produce and consume food," the FAO Director-General said

He was speaking in New York at the “Interactive Dialogue on Poverty and Hunger,” an event which is part of the United Nations Sustainable Development Summit.

The decision by the international community to adopt the 17 Sustainable Development Goals is a “historic moment” the FAO Director-General said, noting that it is indeed possible to eradicate poverty and hunger in this generation. "We can be the Zero Hunger Generation," he said.

Drastic changes

Yet for this to happen, “drastic changes in how we produce and consume food” are required, including making agriculture and food systems more productive, more inclusive and more resilient, with lower greenhouse emissions.

“We know how to do this. We have the sustainable technologies for that. In many cases the challenge is to put them within the reach of family farmers and poor, rural populations,” Graziano da Silva said. Global income inequalities continue to grow and poverty remains a largely rural problem – more than three-quarters of the world’s poor live in rural areas, with the share even higher in low-income countries.

In addition, certain groups are disproportionately represented among the poor population: women, people living with disability, children, and indigenous communities.

Stressing that climate change, poverty, hunger and inequality are interrelated, he said these problems need to be addressed together in order to solve them.

 “We can create the future we want, but only if we do it together,” he concluded.

Photo: FAO/Daniel Hayduk
A farmer waters his crops using water from the canal which feeds the highlands and lowlands of Kiroka (Tanzania)