World Food Day is not only a reminder of the importance of what we eat to everyone on the planet, but also “a call to action to achieve food security around the world”, the United Nations chief said in his message marking the World Food Day on Friday.
Commemorated annually on 15 October, UN Secretary-General António Guterres pointed out that currently, almost 40 per cent of humanity, some three billion people, can’t afford to eat healthily.
And as hunger, undernourishment, and obesity are on the rise, the economic impacts of COVID-19 “have made a bad situation even worse”, he said.
Noting that the pandemic has left an additional 140 million people “unable to access the food they need”.
At the same time, the way we produce, consume and waste food is taking a heavy toll on our planet.
“It is putting historic pressure on our natural resources, climate and natural environment, and costing us trillions of dollars a year”, warned the UN chief.
Reference this year’s theme that the power to change is in our hands, he spelled out that “our actions are our future”.
Last month, the world took part in the landmark UN Food Systems Summit, which set the stage to transform food systems everywhere to meet the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030.
The UN chief recalled that during the summit: “countries made bold commitmentsto make healthy diets more affordable and accessible and to make food systems more efficient, resilient and sustainable at every step”.
“We can all change how we consume food, and make healthier choices, for ourselves, and our planet”, said the UN Secretary-General.
“In our food systems, there is hope”, according UN News.
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Around 980,000 Haitians in the four districts most affected by the August 14 earthquake in Haiti are now living with acute food insecurity, according to new UN food security data released on Thursday.
Following the release of its findings, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) urgently called for more investment to help rural Haitians go back to small-scale farming and avoid a worsening of the food crisis.
Haiti is the poorest country in the western hemisphere and has long been vulnerable on multiple fronts.
Last month’s earthquake destroyed markets, roads, storage and processing facilities, dairies, and irrigation systems.
Tropical Storm Grace, which hit days after the seismic event, caused additional damage.
FAO Representative in Haiti, Jose Luis Fernandez, said that “on top of a succession of disasters and crises, this latest double whammy has left people’s ability to produce and to access food for their families and communities, in tatters.”
“With the October winter planting season just around the corner, we can’t wait to invest in rebooting agricultural production. That must happen immediately, but we are hampered by low levels of funding for this critical work,” he added.
Even before the 7.2 magnitude earthquake, poverty, civil unrest, political and economic instability, combined with recurring natural disasters and the effects of COVID-19 pandemic, had turned Haiti into one of the worst-affected areas in terms of food supply.
At the time, 4.4 million people were facing crisis or even worse levels of acute food insecurity, as measured on the official IPC food security scale, according UN News.
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