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FAO launches "Towards Zero Hunger"

Oct 20, 2017 3:23 PM

Mr. José Graziano da Silva, FAO Director-General.

On October 16th, the World Food Day, FAO, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, lanched the publication ‘Towards Zero Hunger’, exploring FAO’s efforts to end hunger and malnutrition over the past 72 years. In the same day, FAO organized an interactive discussion with the FAO Special Goodwill Ambassadors describing challenges and opportunities faced and their intentions to motivate Zero Hunger efforts in their respective regions.

For the first time, FAO Ambassadors for Zero Hunger from across the regions united for an official presentation by the Director-General and interact with students from across different regions including RLC, RAF RNE and REU.

Read below the Statement by Mr. José Graziano da Silva, FAO Director-General. Or click here to watch the video .

World Food Day – Towards Zero Hunger

The Agenda 2030, and especially the Sustainable Development Goal number 2, the Zero Hunger Goal,  permeates everything that FAO does.

We need to continue raising awareness  that a world free from hunger  is possible.

This is where  our Special Goodwill Ambassadors for Zero Hunger  come into play a crucial role. 

They must advance  in all fronts of the Agenda 2030, reach out to the public  and make sure  that our messages are heard.

Please allow me to welcome the Zero Hunger ambassadors  who have gathered here in Rome  for the first time together.

I would like to thank all of them, and ask them  to continue living up  to their strong commitments towards Zero Hunger. 

We have a lot of work to do. 

As you all know, the latest numbers show  that undernourishment  has increased in the world.

Last year, 815 (eight hundred fifteen) million people suffered from hunger, 38 (thirty eight) million more than in 2015.

This means  that one in nine people  or 11% of the population in the world  was going to bed hungry last year. 

This is the same level of 2012. This means  that we have back tracked five years.

And we can never forget  that SDG 2 is not only about hunger, but all forms of malnutrition.

Nowadays, 1.9 billion people in the world are overweight, of which 600 (six hundred) million are obese.

And another 2 billion  suffer from micronutrient deficiency.

This is happening just two years  after all countries  committed to eradicating hunger  and all forms of malnutrition  by 2030.

Ladies and gentlemen,

We must turn our political will  into concrete actions  to accelerate  and deepen progress on SDG2.

Let me mention four actions  for effective implementation  of the policies and programmes  needed to achieve Zero Hunger.

First, we need to focus more strongly  on national strategies, promoting synergies between social protection, sustainable agriculture, nutrition, and health.

Let’s also not forget education policies. They which are key to promote healthy diets  and also sustainable production and consumption patterns, as called for SDG 12.

Second, we need to enhance governance. Coordination mechanisms are fundamental to facilitate dialogue  for different sectors and stakeholders  to work better together.

Third, we need to sharpen  the focus of Zero Hunger Initiatives. For that, decision-makers need solid  and relevant evidence, including statistics, data  and monitoring tools.

And four, we have to increase investments  in food security programmes. 

Ladies and gentlemen,

Two years ago, I made an appeal to young people  during the event “Mobilizing Generation Zero Hunger”, in New York. 

I urged them  to play their part  in eradicating world hunger. Their engagement  and leadership  are crucial.

Today, I repeat this appeal  in the presence of the young people in this room, and also of those  connecting from different regions.

As the leaders of tomorrow, it is important that young people  are informed and engaged  in creating a sustainable world, where everyone has access to nutritious food.

And I would also like to take this opportunity  to mention that we are launching a book, called “Towards Zero Hunger: 1945-2030”.

It brings a visual perspective  on the efforts undertaken by FAO  to fight hunger since the Organization was born.

Ladies and Gentlemen

Before concluding, let me address a question  that I am frequently asked: 

Do I really believe  that a world free from hunger  is possible to achieve by 2030, just 13 years from now? 

My answer is yes. It is possible! 

And I would like to tell all of you  the experience of my country, Brazil.

When President Lula took office in 2003, about one quarter of population (near 40 million people)  was suffering from hunger, according to FAO. 

And at that time  Brazil was already one of biggest food exporters in the world. 

I was appointed by President Lula  to be a special Minister for Food Security  and Fight against Hunger  in the country.

And, in 2003, we began to put in place  the Zero Hunger Programme. 

It was nothing more  than a combination of successful practices  that had been already implemented  in some municipalities governed by the Worker’s Party.

In 2014, FAO took FAO out of the Hunger Map, based on the data released by SOFI 2013 

So hunger was eradicated in Brazil in 10 years-time.  

So ending hunger is possible, if we are committed to achieve this. We have to believe that. 

And also, as President Lula used to say, we need to put the poor people in the budget.

This means to give adequate financial support  for the implementation of programmes and projects  that will guarantee food security for all.

Nowadays, the main drivers of hunger in the world  are conflicts and climate change. 

It is not only FAO that says this. You just heard it from Pope Francis this morning.

We can mitigate and even stop conflicts  with political will. And we can also promote adaptation  to the impacts of climate change. 

We cannot avoid a drought from happening, but we can avoid it becoming famine.

We have the tools for this. 

So we can beat hunger by 2030, in the next 13 years that we have ahead.

And we can become  the Zero Hunger Generation!

My dear Zero Hunger Ambassadors, thank you for the work you are doing on voluntary basis. 

We appreciate very much your commitment. 

Thank you very much