Following is UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s message on World Food Day, to be held 16 October:
Today, and every day, we eat thanks to the labours of family farmers. They run the vast majority of farms in the world. They preserve natural resources and agro-biodiversity. They are the cornerstone of inclusive and sustainable agriculture and food systems.
It is fitting that in this International Year of Family Farming, there are 100 million fewer hungry people than just 10 years ago. Sixty-three countries have halved the portion of their population which is undernourished. Our vision of zero hunger is within reach.
But there is much work to be done. More than 800 million people do not have enough healthy, nutritious food to lead active lives. One in three young children is malnourished.
Family farmers are key to unlocking global progress. But they are at a disadvantage when it comes to access to technology, services and markets. And they are acutely exposed to extreme weather, climate change and environmental degradation. Ensuring equal access, particularly for women, to productive resources is essential to empowering the world’s 500 million smallholder farmers to help eradicate poverty and safeguard the environment.
At the Climate Summit in New York last month, more than a hundred organizations and Governments pledged to work more closely with farmers, fishers and livestock keepers to improve food security and nutrition while addressing climate change. The Zero Hunger Challenge and the Scaling Up Nutrition movement are catalyzing partnerships with Governments, civil society and the private sector. The Committee on World Food Security has made impressive progress on responsible investments in agriculture, addressing food losses and waste, and taking action to promote sustainable fisheries and aquaculture.
In 2015 we have an opportunity to turn the tide, by achieving the Millennium Development Goals, shaping a new agenda for sustainable development, and fostering a meaningful universal climate agreement. A world free from poverty and hunger, where all people have realized their right to adequate food, is central to the future we want.
On this World Food Day, let us resolve to end hunger in our lifetimes.