Ban names senior official to lead efforts to combat growing number of hungry

29 October 2009
David Nabarro, Senior UN System Coordinator for Avian and Human Influenza

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today named a Special Representative on Food Security and Nutrition to stem and reverse the mounting number of children, women and men worldwide suffering from chronic hunger.

David Nabarro, who has been appointed to the new role, is tasked with developing a more coherent international response to combat food insecurity and malnutrition which now affects over one billion people globally, with a focus on multilateral agencies taking the lead and increased international assistance.

Dr. Nabarro, a qualified physician from the United Kingdom, has had a long career working on national health programmes around the world, including as the Executive Director of the World Health Organization (WHO), and since January has been responsible for coordinating the UN High Level Task Force on the Global Food Security Crisis.

The Task Force – consisting of UN agencies, funds and programmes; international financial institutions; and the World Trade Organization (WTO) – was set up to respond to the plight of the hundreds of millions of people affected by food insecurity and to the need for longer-term investment in agricultural development, fair trade, social protection and nutrition.

Mr. Nabarro told reporters at UN Headquarters in New York last month that the lack of “enough food to eat, or food insecurity, is the ultimate degradation for humanity,” adding that it weakens and imperils individuals, while disempowering and destabilizing societies.

He emphasized a need for greater national planning for food security, a transformation of markets and trading systems in the agricultural sector to work more in the interest of poor people and their countries, stronger social protection and safety nets in development programmes and a re-engagement in the fight against malnutrition, which affects 50 million women and children at any one time.


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