The head of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) today called for a global movement to eradicate hunger as countries look ahead to the new set of development goals that will be adopted in September.
“The entire world is called to join in a global movement to end hunger and malnutrition once and for all,” FAO Director-General Jose Graziano da Silva said today during his opening address at the International Agricultural Forum at EXPO Milan.
He called on delegates to “embark on this journey,” noting that the UN system is offering full support to more than 100 countries that have already committed to end hunger. “Citizens, producers and the private sector all have a role,” he underlined.
Mr. Graziano da Silva noted that the Forum, attended by more than 50 agriculture ministers and delegates from more than 100 countries and international organizations, comes at a crucial moment in history as it coincides with the end of a 15-year global effort to reduce hunger as well as a new one that will promise to eradicate it altogether.
Progress achieved through the current Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), which targeted the halving of the share of populations suffering hunger, demonstrates that the next and bolder goal is possible, according to FAO.
A priority of the sustainable development goals (SDGs) currently being negotiated by the international community is a time-bound framework to “end hunger, achieve food security and improve nutrition, and promote sustainable agriculture,” Mr. Graziano da Silva explained.
“Hunger’s root cause is not the scarcity of food but poverty, itself linked to a spectrum of inequalities and revolving around questions of access – access to water, land and other productive resources, access to resources, income and markets, as well as access to adequate social protection,” he added.
Ministers gathered in Milan to discuss how to improve food security, nutrition and food systems are expected to sign on Friday the “Carta di Milano,” an initiative of the Italian Government that seeks to nudge countries, organizations, companies and citizens to pledge to find solutions to food and nutrition challenges.
The Carta will be central to the Expo’s legacy, Mr. Graziano da Silva underscored, noting that citizens “must do their part” by reducing food waste and consuming environmentally friendly products, and that responsible investors must also act in a way that enhances food security and nutrition.
Producers, he added, can choose from an array of options, including agroecology and climate-smart agriculture, to ensure sustainable production.
Expo Milano 2015 runs through 31 October. Over a six-month period, Milan will become a global showcase where more than 140 participating countries will exhibit the best of their technology that offers a concrete answer to a vital need: being able to guarantee healthy, safe food for everyone, while respecting the planet.