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FAO Director-General encourages young people to be the Zero Hunger Generation

Youth participation and leadership crucial to ending hunger

26 September 2015, New York -FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva today urged young people to play their part in ending world hunger, saying that their leadership is crucial to achieving this goal by 2030.

Graziano da Silva made the appeal in his address to the Mobilizing Generation Zero Hunger, – a high-level side event at the United Nations Sustainable Development Summit in New York.

"We can feed all the people in the world and we throw out even one third of all the food we produce. So the problem is not food," said the FAO Director-General. Poverty is the reason behind hunger, not lack of food, he said.

The event, which focused on the role that young people can play in achieving the globally agreed goal of eradicating hunger by 2030, was co-hosted by the Permanent Mission of Ireland to the United Nations, FAO, the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), and the World Food Programme (WFP).

President Michael D Higgins  from Ireland shed light on the importance of reducing food waste. "We believe that it is simply unacceptable that 800 million people are hungry in a world of plenty and often waste," said Mr. Higgins.

Mr. Ahmad Al Hindawi, UN Secretary-General Envoy for Youth emphasised the need to get the youth involved in agriculture by supporting young entrepreneurs who do not have access to land, education and resources

In his remarks, Graziano da Silva also indicated that it is indeed possible to end hunger, but that doing so would require a collective effort from citizens and governments alike.

The FAO Director-General also spoke about the plight of millions of those who are  fleeing their homes as a result of conflicts and crises. It is important to remember that immigrants helped build many nations around the world, he said . At the same time he stressed that today's greatest challenge is in Africa . Therefore, it is crucial to provide land to the youth and opportunities for the women. Empowering women is critical  to addressing hunger and malnutrition, noted the FAO Director-General.

The UN summit (25-27 September) has adopted the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that will help steer the world's development path over the coming decades. SDG 2: “Zero Hunger”, calls on countries to “End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture.” 

Flash mob of Youths the World Forestry Congress 2015 in Durban, South Africa.