UN chief Antonio Guterres said "we need to re-think how we see and value food – not simply as a commodity to be traded, but as a right that every person shares," as he warned the Covid-19 pandemic has made the challenge greater.
Billions of people are overweight, millions are hungry, one third of food is wasted and the way the world produces, processes and consumes food generates one-third of greenhouse gas emissions, UN chief Antonio Guterres has said at the first global summit on the future of food.
The aim of the summit is to deliver progress on 17 sustainable development goals, created by the United Nations in 2015 as a wide-ranging "to-do" list including ending hunger and poverty, achieving gender equality and taking action on climate change.
Guterres told the summit – held virtually because of the coronavirus pandemic on the sidelines of the annual high-level UN General Assembly – that food systems need to support the health and well-being of all people, protect the planet and support prosperity.
"As a global community, we need to shift our approach on agricultural subsidies, and employment support for workers," he said. "And we need to re-think how we see and value food – not simply as a commodity to be traded, but as a right that every person shares."
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While agriculture contributes to climate change, it can also be part of the solution to the #ClimateCrisis, as well as reaching #ZeroHunger.— World Food Programme (@WFP) September 23, 2021
Nature-based solutions can help address one-third of all emissions, transform #foodsystems, and build adaptation and resilience. #UNGA76 pic.twitter.com/vQaqimxq8M
The effects of climate change are particularly profound when they overlap with fragility & conflict.— António Guterres (@antonioguterres) September 23, 2021
We simply cannot achieve lasting peace & security without investments in resilience & adaptation.
My remarks to the Security Council: https://t.co/KDWCKpJFoJ #UNGA pic.twitter.com/lhrp9XjI4i
Food prices up 33.9 percent
After remaining virtually unchanged for five years, world hunger and malnutrition rose last year by around 118 million people to 768 million, with most of the increase likely caused by the pandemic, according to a UN report.
On internationally traded markets, world food prices were up 33.9 percent year-on-year in June, according to the UN food agency's price index, which measures a basket of cereals, oilseeds, dairy products, meat and sugar.
"We must grow food where the environment supports it best and where emissions efficiency is greatest, while minimising the barriers to trade and efficient distribution," New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern told the summit.
US President Joe Biden said on Tuesday that Washington would spend $10 billion to end hunger and invest in food systems at home and abroad. US officials said half of that money would fund Feed the Future over the next five years, a US initiative that aims to reduce poverty, hunger, and malnutrition.
The World Bank Group, International Food Policy Research Institute and the Food & Land Use Coalition introduced a roadmap at the summit that aims to show how capital can be shifted from a high-carbon, unequal, extractive food system and into models that add value for people, planet and the economy.
The said the roadmap could unlock $4.5 trillion in new business opportunities every year by 2030 and ensure a more sustainable food system.
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