Greater efforts must be made to realize every person’s right to food – Ban

5 March 2009

With the number of hungry people around the world surging amid the current global financial crisis and the effects of climate change, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today stressed the need to scale-up efforts to combat hunger and realize every person’s right to food.

With the number of hungry people around the world surging amid the current global financial crisis and the effects of climate change, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today stressed the need to scale-up efforts to combat hunger and realize every person’s right to food.

“Food is not just a commodity, and agriculture is not just a business. Both are central to survival. Realizing every person’s right to food is a moral and humanitarian imperative,” Mr. Ban told students of the UN International School at a conference on the global food crisis.

The Secretary-General said that the way the world grows, markets and trades food does not protect the poor, and the situation is getting worse. “Between global warming and the financial crisis, the number of hungry people is surging.”

Last year saw an unprecedented movement of farmers, community groups, businesses, governments, the UN and development organizations working together to tackle the food crisis, in what Mr. Ban described as “the largest emergency scale-up against hunger and malnutrition in history.”

Donors have pledged more aid, and the international community has held a series of emergency meetings, but the main work is in communities and countries, he noted. “That is where we are using food assistance and giving seeds and fertilizers to farmers. That is where we are helping communities adapt to climate change and building roads and storage centres so that produce can get to market.”

Nevertheless, the global community needs to do even more this year, Mr. Ban stated.

The UN is moving on two fronts: delivering immediate food and nutrition assistance, and improving longer-term food production and agricultural development. In addition, it is pushing for a fairer world trade system that works for poor people while combating climate change.

The way out of the crisis, he noted, is to tackle the urgent challenges while fixing the underlying problem.

“Hunger is a stain on humanity,” he asserted. “The time has come to remove that stain – forever.”

 

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