More investments in sustainable rural development required

 

Photo credit: FAO

Turning political will on ending hunger into action requires strong focus on national strategies, including to those on nutrition, health and education policies.

Achieving Zero Hunger by 2030 requires turning political will into concrete actions

Achieving the international community’s goal of eradicating hunger and malnutrition by 2030 is indeed possible, but this requires a scaling up of action, including greater investments in agriculture and sustainable rural development, FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva said.

Speaking at a side event on Zero Hunger at the FAO Conference, Graziano da Silva pointed to some stark facts and figures.

“Today more than 800 million people are still chronically undernourished … and unfortunately the number has started to grow again,” the FAO Director-General said.

Around 155 million children under five are stunted – close to a quarter of the total while 1.9 billion people are overweight, of which at least 500 million are obese and 2 billion suffer from micronutrient deficiency, he added.

While progress in combating the related scourges of poverty and hunger has been made in recent decades, these achievements are at risk of being reversed as conflict, population growth, climate change and changing dietary patterns, all pose new challenges, Graziano da Silva said.

He noted that the world is facing “one of the largest humanitarian crises ever” with more than 20 million people at risk of famine in four countries: North Eastern Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan and Yemen.

An enabling policy and institutional environment

Graziano da Silva noted that the 2030 Agenda calls for strong commitment to national decision-making and greater self-reliance by Member States, underscoring how “we are seeing this happen with regional initiatives and organizations playing a substantial role.”

He cited the Malabo Declaration adopted by African Union leaders to end hunger in Africa by 2025 and also referred to the strong commitment to food security made by countries in the Asia and Pacific region and in Latin America and the Caribbean.

Turning political will into action requires a stronger focus on national strategies, including to those relating to nutrition, health and education policies. The FAO Director-General called for enhancing governance and coordination mechanisms to facilitate dialogue and create incentives for different sectors and stakeholders to work together and to sharpen the focus of Zero Hunger initiatives. “For that, decision-makers need solid and relevant evidence, including statistics and monitoring data,” he added.

“And last but not least, we have to significantly increase investments,” Graziano da Silva said. 

Read the full article: FAO

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Willem Van Cotthem

Honorary Professor of Botany, University of Ghent (Belgium). Scientific Consultant for Desertification and Sustainable Development.