Following is UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s message for World Food Day, observed on 16 October:
As the global population expands, we will need to satisfy an increasing demand for food. Yet, around the world, record-breaking temperatures, rising sea levels and more frequent and severe droughts and floods caused by climate change are already affecting ecosystems, agriculture and society’s ability to produce the food we need. The most vulnerable people are world’s poorest, 70 per cent of whom depend on subsistence farming, fishing or pastoralism for income and food.
On this World Food Day, we highlight the close link between climate change, sustainable agriculture and food and nutrition security with the message that “The climate is changing. Food and agriculture must, too.” Without concerted action, millions more people could fall into poverty and hunger, threatening to reverse hard-won gains and placing in jeopardy our ability to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.
Agriculture and food systems must become more resilient, productive, inclusive and sustainable. To bolster food security in a changing climate, countries must address food and agriculture in their climate action plans and invest more in rural development. Targeted investments in these sectors will build resilience and increase the incomes and productivity of small farmers, lifting millions from poverty. They will help to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions and safeguard the health and well-being of ecosystems and all people who depend on them.
Next month, the historic Paris Agreement on climate change will enter into force. This will provide a much-needed boost to global efforts to reduce global greenhouse-gas emissions, limit temperature rise and promote climate-compatible sustainable agriculture.
On this World Food Day, I urge all Governments and their partners to take a holistic, collaborative and integrated approach to climate change, food security and equitable social and economic development. The well-being of this generation and those to come depends on the actions we take now. Only by working in partnership will we achieve a world of zero hunger and free from poverty, where all people can live in peace, prosperity and dignity.