If there is one thing that this year has shown us, it is that basic needs, such as food, need more protection than ever. While even before Covid-19, millions of people around the world suffered food insecurity, the pandemic has only accelerated this, putting many more people at risk. Its therefore even more evident, that access to nutritious and healthy food needs to be a global top priority in the response to the pandemic and after. The World Food Day and the FAOs 75th anniversary was an excellent opportunity to recall for global solidarity and support for the most vulnerable and the need to transform our food systems so that they are sustainable resilient and deliver social protection to everyone. During the virtual event in Rome, many high-level speakers expressed their views, including for instance UN Secretary General António Gutierrez, the Director-General of the FAO QU Dongyu, His Holiness Pope Francis and many more.
FAO Director-General QU Dongyu remarked that “And the present moment […] is again fraught with danger, complicated, and demands urgent action. As hunger grows once more, as the COVID-19 pandemic exposes the fragility of our food systems, history is calling upon us once more to rise to the challenge.”
His Holiness Pope Francis said: “Regrettably, we have seen that, according to the latest FAO statistics, despite the efforts made in recent decades, the number of people fighting hunger and food insecurity has grown and is still growing, and the current pandemic will increase these figures still further. Hunger is not merely a disaster for humanity but also a disgrace, caused largely by the unequal distribution of the fruits of the earth, compounded by a lack of investment in the agricultural sector, the consequences of climate change and the increase in conflicts in various parts of the planet. What is more, tonnes of food is wasted. Faced with this reality, we cannot fail to respond or to act. We are all responsible.”
Read the full speech here.