Rome – Bold, large-scale and collaborative action is needed to ensure that everyone, everywhere has access to enough nutritious food every day, said Qu Dongyu, Director-General of the United Nations Agriculture (FAO), to members and delegates attending the opening of the 28th Session of the Committee on Agriculture (COAG) last week.
Qu stressed that food and agriculture are at the very heart of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
“Together, we are committed to achieving SDG 2 (zero hunger) by 2030. Unfortunately, the world has lost ground and we are backsliding in our efforts to end hunger and malnutrition and achieve food security for all. Global hunger continues to rise, reflecting growing inequalities between and within countries,” he told the Session.
According to the recently published report on the state of food security and nutrition in the world (SOFI 2022), no less than 828 million people were affected by hunger last year. This is an increase of 46 million over 2020, and 150 million more than in 2019 before the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2020, more than 3 billion people worldwide could not afford a healthy diet.
Qu said the COVID-19 pandemic, the climate crisis, the war in Ukraine and other conflicts, as well as humanitarian crises around the world have exacerbated already existing food problems. “We have seen the fragility of our agri-food systems and the urgency to transform them to put them back on the path to sustainable development,” Qu said.
Qu told members and delegates at the session that the discussions they would have on issues relating to agriculture, livestock, food security, nutrition, rural development and resource management resources were central to efforts to move from strategies to action. “We need bold, large-scale and collaborative actions to ensure everyone, everywhere, every day has access to enough nutritious food,” added the Director-General.
“We must work together to tackle the root causes of hunger and malnutrition through transformative changes in the way we produce, distribute and consume food. We need to make more efficient use of available outputs and inputs – we need to produce more with less.
And we need to drastically reduce food loss and waste, which could currently feed an estimated 1.26 billion people a year,” Qu said.
The Director General highlighted the need for increased support and increased investment in knowledge, infrastructure and technology for sustainable agriculture to effect this change. – CAM