New York

15 July 2019

Deputy Secretary-General's remarks at launch of "State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World 2019" [as prepared for delivery]

We are here today to discuss the challenge of ending hunger and malnutrition in all its forms by 2030. 

The State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World 2019, being launched today, reminds us that hunger, food insecurity and malnutrition are an urgent global concern requiring coordinated action. 

I commend FAO, IFAD, UNICEF, WFP and WHO which jointly developed this report.

It is a real demonstration of UN reform in action.

Around the world hunger is on the rise, with significant implications for food security, nutrition and public health. 

As we have heard in the past three years, the number of people who suffer from hunger has increased to more than 820 million people. 

This report highlights regions, such as Africa in particular is facing the highest prevalence of undernourishment, at 20%, while Latin America and the Caribbean, and Asia and Western Asia are also showing a continuous increase.

This is linked, in part, to climate change. Globally, temperatures are rising and extreme weather and climate events are becoming more frequent and severe.

This underscores the immense challenge of achieving Zero Hunger by 2030. 

But it offers an opportunity to reap the huge benefits of going green by achieving sustainable food systems, and importantly demonstrates the imperative for effective multilateral action.

The Report also unveils additional trends of global concern.

Millions of people in all regions, and even in high-income countries, are experiencing levels of moderate food insecurity. 

While they are not going hungry, they face uncertainties about their ability to obtain food. 

They are forced to compromise not only on the quantity but also the quality of the food they consume. 

Taking this into account, it is estimated that more than 2 billion people do not have regular access to safe, nutritious and sufficient food.

Inequality increases the likelihood of severe food insecurity. High income inequality countries face severe food insecurity almost three times more than those countries with low income inequality.

The consequences are stark.

Some 150 million of our children under five have stunted growth, while the lives of over 50 million children in the world continue to be threatened by wasting. 

This is robbing the next generation of the opportunity to live healthy lives and fulfil their full potential. 

Food insecurity also disproportionately affects women and girls. Social norms and systemic discrimination often mean that when there is limited food, including in contexts of drought and humanitarian insecurity, women and girls are fed last. 

Another vulnerable group is persons with disabilities. They, too, suffer disproportionately from malnourishment and deserve special focus. 

Furthermore, the problems of overweight and obesity are increasing in all regions, affecting not only adults but also millions of children and adolescents.

Ultimately, we need political will to achieve Zero Hunger by 2030. 

This means zero tolerance for famine and hunger, the restoration of livelihoods to ensure global food security, and multilateral efforts to eradicate the multiple forms of malnutrition that affect our world.

The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development has provided a transformational vision of a world without hunger, food insecurity and malnutrition in any of its forms. 

All governments and stakeholders need to embrace this transformational call.

Let us ensure that current and future generations can grow up with the quality of nutrition necessary to live a healthy, active life.  

Thank you.