The United Nations (UN) chief, António Guterres, has revealed that, the COVID-19 pandemic has further intensified food insecurity to a level the world has not seen in decades.
He said this in a virtual address to mark the World Food Day, where he noted that hundreds of millions go to bed hungry each night.
“More than 60 million people risk being pushed to the brink of starvation by the end of this year. This is on top of the already 690 million people who already lack enough to eat. On top of that more than 6 billion people cannot afford a healthy diet.”
He went on to say that, as the world marks the 75th anniversary of the United Nations food and agricultural organization, it will want to intensify its efforts to achieve the UN’s vision of the sustainable development goals, that means the future “where everyone, everywhere, has access to the nutrition they need.”
He stated that, next year a food system summit will be convened to inspire action towards this vision.
Mr. Guterres underscored the importance of making food systems more resistant to volatility and climate shocks, minimizing food waste, and ensuring that everyone has access to a sustainable and healthy diet.
“And we need to ensure sustainable and healthy diet for all. And we need food systems that provide decent and safe livelihood for workers.”
He then urged that, we all have the capacity to create a resilient, sustainable and equitable world.
Also, in a virtual address, Sergio Mattarella, President of Italy, said that, with some 100 million people living below the poverty line, the world needs a serious global commitment to recognize the value of agriculture, the responsible use of natural resources, and the safeguarding of biodiversity and ecosystems.
Mr. Mattarella went on to underline the importance of international cooperation in building sustainable food systems, as well as the involvement of both the public and private sector, as well as individuals and communities.
“Food with its ancient and inextricable link with cultures, traditions and the land, should be seen as a noble cause. We must safeguard it by preventing food waste, which is a negative trend that unfortunately continues to characterise the wealthiest regions of the planet.”
World Food Day is marked every year on the 16th of October, by the United Nation’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) since 1979. This year’s World Food Day 2020 also marks the 75th anniversary of FAO.
Initially, World Food Day was launched to commemorate the establishment of FAO but has gradually turned into a global event, creating awareness about food shortage and reviving food systems across the globe.
This year the day is being celebrated with the theme – “Grow, nourish, sustain. Together. Our actions are our future.”