Yet, 870 million people are still chronically undernourished in the world. At the Rio+20 conference, the Secretary-General of the UN, Ban Ki-moon, launched the Zero Hunger Challenge, envisioning a world of lasting food security and no hunger. This seminar will explore how this challenge can be met within the post-2015 agenda.
The world food system faces major challenges. Extreme weather provoked by global warming makes the task to feed the world population more difficult as the strain on scarce resources, such as fresh water and arable land, is predicted to intensify. Volatile food prices, increased biofuel production, and large-scale land acquisition entail further pressure. At the same time, the world population is estimated to reach 9 billion people over the next few decades – while the global middle-class is likely to double – causing a substantially growing demand for food.
And yet hunger is often labeled the world’s greatest solvable problem. Enough food is produced globally, but some 300 billion tons of food are discarded every year in the developed countries alone. Such staggering waste exceeds the total food production of sub-Saharan Africa and would be enough to feed the 870 million hungry.
Attended by more than a hundred participants from notably government agencies, ministries, civil society, and academia, the seminar dealt with a range of critical aspects related to the future food security of the world and the challenges it brings, including population growth projections, increasing global food demand, global warming, and the growing burden placed on already scarce natural resources.
“We live in a world of change and the problem of hunger must be part of the wider debate on sustainable development,” said Lennart Båge, former Director of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD). “It’s not a question of production, we grow enough food to feed the world’s population, it is all about supply and distribution – which in turn requires political will.”
The seminar also hosted two other panelists, Richard China, Director of the FAO EU office, and Maria Elena Rebagay, Senior policy officer with the Asian Farmers’ Association for Sustainable Rural Development (AFA).
“Trying to eradicate hunger is not only to do the right thing, it also has political and economic benefits,” said Richard China. “A hungry man is an angry man, and not to deal with the problem can involve a high price for the next generation.”
All of the speakers emphasized the importance of strengthening women farmers who, despite their central role to agriculture, often lack the right to resources, such as water, energy and land.
Moreover, the speakers recurrently stressed the importance of smallholders.
“Because small-scale farmers play such a key role in the fight against hunger, it is important to also let them be part of the discussion,” said Maria Elena Rebagay.
Richard China, Director of the FAO Liaison Office with the European Union and Belgium. Powerpoint
Maria Elena Rebagay, Senior Policy Advocacy Officer with the Asian Farmers’ Association for Sustainable Rural Development (AFA). Powerpoint
Lennart Båge was the President of the UN International Fund for Agricultural Development between 2001 and 2009
The event forms part of the seminar series “After 2015 – The road towards the next global development agenda,” jointly organised by the Dag Hammarskjöld Foundation and UNDP Nordic Office. The series is running throughout 2013 and 2014. The next seminar is to take place in September 2014. More information will come after the summer!
For further information, please visit www.millenniemalen.nu or www.dhf.uu.se/after-2015.