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Leave NO-ONE behind

The “catastrophic levels of acute food insecurity” in many parts of the world place a revealing lens on World Food Day, which has been celebrated since 1945; marking the founding of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO).

The 2022 theme Leave NO-ONE behind is “an urgent call for the world to face the alarming reality that more and more people are being left behind amid a spiraling global food security crisis,” states QU Dongyu, FAO Director-General.

Referring to ongoing and protracted conflicts including the war in Ukraine, the COVID-19 pandemic and the climate crisis, he noted that the situation is further exacerbated by inflation spikes and dramatic rises in the price of food, feed, fuel, fertilizers and energy. He warned that these developments are “threatening to create a food access crisis now, and possibly a food availability crisis next season.”

The FAO State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World and its partners estimate that up to 828 million people faced chronic undernourishment in 2021, which is 46 million more than in 2020 and 150 million more than in 2019, before COVID-19.

“The impacts of the pandemic had already widened existing inequalities, increased extreme poverty, and made eradicating hunger even harder, especially in vulnerable countries. We clearly have a daunting task before us to achieve the objective of leaving NO-ONE behind, just in terms of feeding the world’s population, let alone offering people a life of peace and equality, and an inclusive and sustainable future.”

The FAO Director General presented multiple solutions to the tasks at hand, including better coordinated, timely and more substantial support to farmers for crucial planting and livestock production seasons. He pointed to the need for more and better information on who is being left behind and why.

“If governments have more people-centered data and research at their disposal, they can act on this empirical knowledge to adopt inclusive, responsive and accountable institutions and social practices. An important step would be for governments to integrate a pledge to leave no one behind into their strategies, plans and budgets for achieving the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The FAO Director General urged governments, the private sector, academia, civil society and other stakeholders to work hand in hand to “help empower the most vulnerable by transforming the ways in which our food is produced, delivered and consumed. Crucial to that is providing basic supplies of agricultural inputs, the right training, incentives, innovation and technologies to vulnerable people, including women and youth.”

Greater solidarity at a global level is vital, he stresses, and called on governments to avoid protectionist measures and focus on the common good to mitigate the potential shocks of food supply shortages by keeping trade open and supply chains moving.

“The shocking fact is that at least two out of every three people experiencing hunger extremes are themselves small-scale food producers from rural areas. The critical task is to help them to feed themselves, and all of us. It is all too easy for communities to be left behind when they fall into the gaps between emergency aid, development work and efforts to promote peace in conflict areas, and we need to do better at coordinating how we provide and properly target the much-needed support.”

Collectively, he urged everyone to have greater compassion, speak up and influence decision-makers to ensure NO-ONE is left behind.

“We can also waste less food, eat nutritious, seasonal food and care for our natural resources like soils and water.”

He reported that young people, for the second consecutive year, are at the center of the World Food Forum Platform at FAO headquarters in Rome from Oct 17 to 21, comprising a Global Youth Forum, a Science and Innovation Forum and a Hand-in-Hand Investment Forum.

Their ideas and enthusiasm, and their stake in the future, must play a key role in ensuring that action and solidarity are at the center of our thoughts and our passion, to achieve the Four Betters: better production, better nutrition, a better environment and a better life for all, leaving NO ONE behind,” he concludes.

Leave NO-ONE behind

The “catastrophic levels of acute food insecurity” in many parts of the world place a revealing lens on World Food Day, which has been celebrated since 1945; marking the founding of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO).

The 2022 theme Leave NO-ONE behind is “an urgent call for the world to face the alarming reality that more and more people are being left behind amid a spiraling global food security crisis,” states QU Dongyu, FAO Director-General.

Referring to ongoing and protracted conflicts including the war in Ukraine, the COVID-19 pandemic and the climate crisis, he noted that the situation is further exacerbated by inflation spikes and dramatic rises in the price of food, feed, fuel, fertilizers and energy. He warned that these developments are “threatening to create a food access crisis now, and possibly a food availability crisis next season.”

The FAO State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World and its partners estimate that up to 828 million people faced chronic undernourishment in 2021, which is 46 million more than in 2020 and 150 million more than in 2019, before COVID-19.

“The impacts of the pandemic had already widened existing inequalities, increased extreme poverty, and made eradicating hunger even harder, especially in vulnerable countries. We clearly have a daunting task before us to achieve the objective of leaving NO-ONE behind, just in terms of feeding the world’s population, let alone offering people a life of peace and equality, and an inclusive and sustainable future.”

The FAO Director General presented multiple solutions to the tasks at hand, including better coordinated, timely and more substantial support to farmers for crucial planting and livestock production seasons. He pointed to the need for more and better information on who is being left behind and why.

“If governments have more people-centered data and research at their disposal, they can act on this empirical knowledge to adopt inclusive, responsive and accountable institutions and social practices. An important step would be for governments to integrate a pledge to leave no one behind into their strategies, plans and budgets for achieving the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The FAO Director General urged governments, the private sector, academia, civil society and other stakeholders to work hand in hand to “help empower the most vulnerable by transforming the ways in which our food is produced, delivered and consumed. Crucial to that is providing basic supplies of agricultural inputs, the right training, incentives, innovation and technologies to vulnerable people, including women and youth.”

Greater solidarity at a global level is vital, he stresses, and called on governments to avoid protectionist measures and focus on the common good to mitigate the potential shocks of food supply shortages by keeping trade open and supply chains moving.

“The shocking fact is that at least two out of every three people experiencing hunger extremes are themselves small-scale food producers from rural areas. The critical task is to help them to feed themselves, and all of us. It is all too easy for communities to be left behind when they fall into the gaps between emergency aid, development work and efforts to promote peace in conflict areas, and we need to do better at coordinating how we provide and properly target the much-needed support.”

Collectively, he urged everyone to have greater compassion, speak up and influence decision-makers to ensure NO-ONE is left behind.

“We can also waste less food, eat nutritious, seasonal food and care for our natural resources like soils and water.”

He reported that young people, for the second consecutive year, are at the center of the World Food Forum Platform at FAO headquarters in Rome from Oct 17 to 21, comprising a Global Youth Forum, a Science and Innovation Forum and a Hand-in-Hand Investment Forum.

Their ideas and enthusiasm, and their stake in the future, must play a key role in ensuring that action and solidarity are at the center of our thoughts and our passion, to achieve the Four Betters: better production, better nutrition, a better environment and a better life for all, leaving NO ONE behind,” he concludes.

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