Addressing the UN-backed body meeting in Rome on Monday, António Guterres underscored that the session was taking place “at a moment of crisis for global food security” and provided some sobering statistics.
“Last year, 735 million people went hungry. More than 3 billion cannot afford a healthy diet,” said the Secretary-General in a video message, adding that “we are going backward on our goal of zero hunger by 2030.”
He emphasized that hunger and malnutrition were not just problems but human rights violations “on an epic scale”, painting a vivid picture of the dire consequences of the rolling crisis.
“When nutritious food is out of reach because of cost or geography; when bodies are eaten away by hunger; when parents watch helplessly as their children suffer and even die from a lack of food”, this is nothing less than “a human tragedy – a moral catastrophe – and a global outrage,” Mr. Guterres stated.
All about access
The Secretary-General made it clear the world has the resources to address this crisis. “There is more than enough food to go around. And more than enough resources to ensure that every person on the planet has enough to eat.”
He emphasized the role of governments in ensuring access to nutritious food, saying that while they have a responsibility to provide it, many governments lack the resources to do so.
António Guterres called for effective international solidarity to transform food systems for all people.
For that, explained the UN chief, massive investment, innovation, science, and technology are essential – to build “sustainable food systems in harmony with nature and addressing the climate crisis.”
Thinktank on food supply
He commended the work of the CFS – which includes staff from the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and World Food Programme (WFP) – emphasizing its importance in finding solutions.
“Your Committee’s work is critical to this process. From reimagining agrifood systems, to boosting the collection and use of data, to ensuring that the needs of women and girls are at the heart of all that we do.”
The Secretary-General implored the world to prioritize this fundamental human right: “Let’s give the fundamental human right to food the investment and urgent action it deserves.”
Established in 1974, the Committee on World Food Security was reformed in 2009 to become an inclusive international and intergovernmental platform tasked to ensure food security and nutrition for all.