|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
‘We Have the Resources and the Knowledge’ to End Needless Global Menace of Hunger,
Says Secretary-General at World Food Day Commemoration
Following are UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s remarks at a World Food Day commemoration in New York, 27 October:
This year’s observance of World Food Day falls at a time when the Horn of Africa is living through its worst drought in 60 years.
The worst effects have been limited to areas in southern Somalia that lie outside the reach of most emergency relief.
Elsewhere, the situation is still critical.
Land, livestock, food and seeds have been badly depleted.
The most dangerous stretch may still lie ahead.
But this is unlike previous catastrophic droughts when famine stalked the entire region.
The affected governments, with support from development partners, have worked hard to build resilience.
Their efforts have saved lives.
They have helped local communities to meet many of their own needs.
This crisis has shown that measures to guarantee food security work.
They reduce human suffering and the cost of emergency interventions.
They can help communities to withstand future climate- and conflict-related shocks.
They point the way toward long-term solutions.
The hunger in the Horn of Africa is but a fraction of a needless global menace.
There is more than enough food on the planet to feed everyone.
Yet, almost 1 billion people are hungry.
This year’s World Food Day highlights the issue of high and volatile food prices.
When food prices surge, poor families suddenly find themselves unable to afford enough nutritious food.
If this happens during the first thousand days of a child’s life, the damage to his or her body and mind can be permanent.
When food prices rise, families send their children to work instead of school, they sell their hard-earned assets or livestock or they go into debt.
Recovery can take years. In some cases, the losses are passed from one generation to the next.
This week the human family will welcome its 7 billionth member.
By 2050, we will number 9 billion.
To keep pace, food production will need to double.
The wild price swings of recent years, together with the expected impacts of climate change, will make this extremely challenging.
Farmers could well find it too risky to invest in producing more, better-quality food.
Guaranteeing sustainable food and nutrition security for all will require the full engagement of many sectors and actors.
It means pursuing comprehensive approaches, assisting the most vulnerable, listening to rural women, empowering small producers.
It means policies like those advocated by the Scale Up Nutrition movement.
It means strong political commitment, predictable finance, and a focus on results.
We should all be encouraged by the renewed political interest in food security, including the prominence that it was given by the G-20 this year.
Let us endeavour to build on this momentum — especially as we look forward to the crucially important Rio+20 conference on sustainable development.
We have the resources and the knowledge to end hunger.
We know how to protect the poorest from the impact of rising prices.
We know how to tame volatile prices.
Every child, woman and man has a right to enough nutritious food for an active and healthy life.
Let us act — now.
* *** *For information media • not an official record