In order to overcome the challenges of hunger and malnutrition in the world, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) has restrategised its Zero Hunger programme. Further, the climate change and rapid growth in global population are also posing challenges in front of world food security.
“To ensure better nutrition for all and transforming the world’s food systems to ensure their future sustainability represent the two greatest challenges facing FAO as it renews its mission to free the world from hunger and malnutrition,” said José Graziano da Silva, Director-General, FAO at a ceremony commemorating the 70th anniversary of FAO in Quebec City in Canada.
“Our responsibility is growing day by day, and today our mission and mandate remain more relevant than ever,” Graziano da Silva said, referring to the new global goal of ending hunger by 2030 adopted by the international community in September.
“And FAO has proven its ability to adapt to a changing world and respond to new challenges,” he added.
Vision for a future without hunger
Speaking at the Chateau de Frontenac on the banks of the Saint Lawrence River where heads of States gathered in 1945 for the first FAO Conference and pledged to unshackle humanity from hunger, Graziano da Silva praised the vision of the agency’s founders.
“Their vision has allowed for agriculture to be considered as the key to human development,” he said, “and for the world to realise that the international community is able to address the problem of hunger and malnutrition globally.”
Attending the ceremony, the Primier of Quebec, Philippe Couillard, said, “The challenge of creating food security for all in the 21st century is more relevant than ever, as climate change affects both the areas and the ways of producing food. I wish FAO every success in the achievement of its development objectives — its expertise is key to global agricultural resilience in response to climate change,” he added.
While the world’s population tripled over that period, food availability per person rose some 40 percent, he noted, adding that since 1990, 73 out of 129 countries that FAO monitors have halved the proportion of hungry people in their populations.
FAO has also advanced global food safety in partnership with the UN’s World Health Organization via the Codex Alimentarius, which provides standards and guiding principles for food producers and retailers to ensure the safety, quality and fairness of international food trade, said the FAO Director-General.
He also highlighted the FAO-brokered International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources, which is playing an important role in ensuring the preservation and sustainable use of seeds of food crops and their wild relatives, harnessing their genetic diversity for the food security of future generations.
But regardless of these and many other successes, “We all know, the fight is not over yet,” the FAO Director-General said, emphasising that around 800 million people all over the world still suffer from hunger today.