World Food Day 2017


– As delivered –

Statement by H.E. Mr. Miroslav Lajčák, President of the 72nd Session of the UN General Assembly, at World Food Day 2017



Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen,

Happy World Food Day.

The focus of this year’s celebration could not be more timely.

Migration has many dimensions. And we must address them all. Talking about food security, and the role it plays before, during and after migration is very relevant.

During this 72nd Session, we will move ahead with the mandated intergovernmental negotiations on the Global Compact on Migration.

I have just returned from Geneva where I convened the 2nd multi-stakeholder hearing and opened the final in the series of thematic consultations on the Global Compact.

One thing that we learned is that it is imperative to focus on tangible results that will bring about meaningful change in the lives of people. Looking at food security and rural development in the context of migration will be a part of this process.

We will need to engage and listen to each other to find the compromise for an effective agreement. Doing so will help us truly reflect the realities that people face and avoid agreeing a Compact which works only on paper.

Let me make two quick points:

The first is that there is a real nexus between Food Security, Rural Development and Migration

Food insecurity can be a major driver of movements. Migration is often an adaptive strategy. Rural underdevelopment and food insecurity force people to urban areas and, sometimes, across borders.

At the same time, food insecurity becomes a consequence of migration. People on the move face vulnerable conditions on their journey, exposing them to the risk of food insecurity and poor nutrition.

Migration from rural agricultural communities, especially by young people, may also threaten the sustainability of food production. Our efforts to create decent jobs, especially for youth, would be bolstered by investing in agriculture as an employment generation industry.

In some cases, where migration is not orderly or managed, incoming migration may place added pressure on scarce resources, including food. This may even lead to increased tensions with local populations and result in conflicts. Dealing with the link between migration and food security can be one useful means of conflict prevention and promoting sustainable peace.

The second point is that regular migration presents opportunities for both communities of origin and destination. Migration can be a driver of economic growth.

The inflow of remittances acts as an important source of income for rural households. These funds make a big impact on food security and other developmental challenges in rural communities.


Migration has many dimensions. And we must address them all. Talking about food security, and the role it plays before, during and after migration is very relevant.


President of the UN General Assembly

At the same time, migrant communities bring new capital as well as demands for goods and services in destination countries. They also connect to broader markets, generate trading opportunities, increase internal demand and fill labour shortages.

To conclude, I’d like to commend FAO and IOM on taking over the chairmanship of the Global Migration Group in 2018. We value your leadership and your contributions towards to the adoption of the global compact on migration.

Stakeholder involvement will be critical to harnessing and maximizing the positive aspects of migration. We should ensure that migrants’ organizations, youth, producers and farmers’ associations all play an active role in our deliberations.

I wish you fruitful discussions today as we celebrate World Food Day. I hope your deliberations will yield produce that will nourish the negotiations and help us to reap the harvest of an impactful Global Compact!

I thank you.