Despite a rising global population and the perilous effects of climate change, the goal of eliminating hunger around the world remains within reach, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said today.
In his message to the Zero Hunger Challenge’s high-level event, Mr. Ban told delegates that the vision of a world where “childhood under-nutrition is eliminated through sustainable and climate-smart agriculture that benefits smallholders, where there is no loss or waste in food systems, and where all people have year-round access to nutritious foods” was still possible.
“We are making progress. Hunger is declining,” he declared. “Globally, the goal is within reach.”
Launched by the Secretary-General in June 2012, the Zero Hunger Challenge calls for bold actions so that every man, woman and child realize their right to adequate food.
Today’s event, held on the margins of the high-level debate of the General Assembly in New York and running under the title Delivering Zero Hunger – Demonstrating Impact, underscored the successes achieved by the international community in fighting this scourge.
In Bangladesh, for instance, a UN-backed effort to improve the production and consumption of small nutrient-rich fish contributed to a 16-percentage- point drop in malnutrition and a reduction in stunting. If expanded, the project has the potential to meet the annual recommended vitamin A intake for over 6 million children.
Overall, since the 1990-1992 biennium, 63 countries have reached the hunger target of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) to halve the proportion of their undernourished citizens. Six more countries are on track to reach that MDG by 2015.
Moreover, the State of Food Insecurity in the World report released last week in Rome by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the World Food Programme (WFP), confirmed the positive trend, reporting that the number of hungry people in the world declined globally by more than 100 million over the last decade and by more than 200 million since 1990-92.
The Secretary-General warned, however, that increasing turmoil and global crises risked derailing the fight against hunger.
“One in nine people still struggle with hunger every day,” Mr. Ban stated. “A rising population and changing climate, coupled with conflicts and health crises, make our task more urgent.”
He urged Member States and other stakeholders “to support the world’s 500 million smallholder farmers, strengthen their resilience and increase productivity.”
“We are accountable to 805 million hungry people,” Mr. Ban concluded. “We can keep our promise to Deliver Zero Hunger.”