Mr. José Graziano da Silva, FAO Director-General.
On October 16th, the World Food Day, FAO, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, lanched the publication ‘Towards Zero Hunger’, exploring FAO’s efforts to end hunger and malnutrition over the past 72 years. In the same day, FAO organized an interactive discussion with the FAO Special Goodwill Ambassadors describing challenges and opportunities faced and their intentions to motivate Zero Hunger efforts in their respective regions.
For the first time, FAO Ambassadors for Zero Hunger from across the regions united for an official presentation by the Director-General and interact with students from across different regions including RLC, RAF RNE and REU.
Read below the Statement by Mr. José Graziano da Silva, FAO Director-General. Or click here to watch the video .
World Food Day – Towards Zero Hunger
The Agenda 2030, and especially the Sustainable Development Goal number 2, the Zero Hunger Goal, permeates everything that FAO does.
We need to continue raising awareness that a world free from hunger is possible.
This is where our Special Goodwill Ambassadors for Zero Hunger come into play a crucial role.
They must advance in all fronts of the Agenda 2030, reach out to the public and make sure that our messages are heard.
Please allow me to welcome the Zero Hunger ambassadors who have gathered here in Rome for the first time together.
I would like to thank all of them, and ask them to continue living up to their strong commitments towards Zero Hunger.
We have a lot of work to do.
As you all know, the latest numbers show that undernourishment has increased in the world.
Last year, 815 (eight hundred fifteen) million people suffered from hunger, 38 (thirty eight) million more than in 2015.
This means that one in nine people or 11% of the population in the world was going to bed hungry last year.
This is the same level of 2012. This means that we have back tracked five years.
And we can never forget that SDG 2 is not only about hunger, but all forms of malnutrition.
Nowadays, 1.9 billion people in the world are overweight, of which 600 (six hundred) million are obese.
And another 2 billion suffer from micronutrient deficiency.
This is happening just two years after all countries committed to eradicating hunger and all forms of malnutrition by 2030.
Ladies and gentlemen,
We must turn our political will into concrete actions to accelerate and deepen progress on SDG2.
Let me mention four actions for effective implementation of the policies and programmes needed to achieve Zero Hunger.
First, we need to focus more strongly on national strategies, promoting synergies between social protection, sustainable agriculture, nutrition, and health.
Let’s also not forget education policies. They which are key to promote healthy diets and also sustainable production and consumption patterns, as called for SDG 12.
Second, we need to enhance governance. Coordination mechanisms are fundamental to facilitate dialogue for different sectors and stakeholders to work better together.
Third, we need to sharpen the focus of Zero Hunger Initiatives. For that, decision-makers need solid and relevant evidence, including statistics, data and monitoring tools.
And four, we have to increase investments in food security programmes.
Ladies and gentlemen,
Two years ago, I made an appeal to young people during the event “Mobilizing Generation Zero Hunger”, in New York.
I urged them to play their part in eradicating world hunger. Their engagement and leadership are crucial.
Today, I repeat this appeal in the presence of the young people in this room, and also of those connecting from different regions.
As the leaders of tomorrow, it is important that young people are informed and engaged in creating a sustainable world, where everyone has access to nutritious food.
And I would also like to take this opportunity to mention that we are launching a book, called “Towards Zero Hunger: 1945-2030”.
It brings a visual perspective on the efforts undertaken by FAO to fight hunger since the Organization was born.
Ladies and Gentlemen
Before concluding, let me address a question that I am frequently asked:
Do I really believe that a world free from hunger is possible to achieve by 2030, just 13 years from now?
My answer is yes. It is possible!
And I would like to tell all of you the experience of my country, Brazil.
When President Lula took office in 2003, about one quarter of population (near 40 million people) was suffering from hunger, according to FAO.
And at that time Brazil was already one of biggest food exporters in the world.
I was appointed by President Lula to be a special Minister for Food Security and Fight against Hunger in the country.
And, in 2003, we began to put in place the Zero Hunger Programme.
It was nothing more than a combination of successful practices that had been already implemented in some municipalities governed by the Worker’s Party.
In 2014, FAO took FAO out of the Hunger Map, based on the data released by SOFI 2013
So hunger was eradicated in Brazil in 10 years-time.
So ending hunger is possible, if we are committed to achieve this. We have to believe that.
And also, as President Lula used to say, we need to put the poor people in the budget.
This means to give adequate financial support for the implementation of programmes and projects that will guarantee food security for all.
Nowadays, the main drivers of hunger in the world are conflicts and climate change.
It is not only FAO that says this. You just heard it from Pope Francis this morning.
We can mitigate and even stop conflicts with political will. And we can also promote adaptation to the impacts of climate change.
We cannot avoid a drought from happening, but we can avoid it becoming famine.
We have the tools for this.
So we can beat hunger by 2030, in the next 13 years that we have ahead.
And we can become the Zero Hunger Generation!
My dear Zero Hunger Ambassadors, thank you for the work you are doing on voluntary basis.
We appreciate very much your commitment.
Thank you very much