World Food Day 2019 flag-raising ceremony

Statement of the UN Resident Coordinator ai at the World Food Day 2019 flag-raising ceremony

This year's national flag-raising ceremony in observance of World Food Day was held at the forecourt of the State House in Accra on 16 October 2019. Dignitaries from the United Nations System and government partnering institutions took turns to make remarks focusing on the theme, "Our Actions are Our Future: Healthy Diets for a #zerohunger World".

The one message that run through all the statements is that #zerohunger is not just about making food available, it is more about making sure nutritious food is available and affordable for everyone, everywhere. Below is the full address by the UN Resident Coordinator ai.

FULL STATEMENT

I am delighted to join you for the commemoration of World Food Day 2019. Today, we the UN, the government of Ghana, civil society, the private sector, the media and the general public come together with a single message: the need to eliminate hunger and achieve a zero-hunger world.

For me, this year’s commemoration is particularly important at a time when the progress report on SDG 2, the zero-hunger goal, reveals that hunger is on the rise again globally. 4 years into the implementation of the SDGs, global hunger is on the rise again, with more people hungry today than 10 years ago.

Ladies and gentlemen

As we speak, more than 821 million people - one out of every nine people in the world - are undernourished. Undernourishment and severe food insecurity appear to be increasing in almost all regions of Africa, with undernourishment affecting millions of children, including many of our children here in Ghana. Beyond the significant impact that this have on the healthy development of these children, let us remember what undernourishment means for our societies at large. The Cost of Hunger is one of the heaviest costs a society can pay as there is a direct correlation between hunger, human development and by extension socio-economic development and transformation.

If we are to stop the cycle of poverty caused by hunger, we have to address all forms of hunger and malnutrition in Ghana. And for that, we need to make sure that all people –especially children– have sufficient and nutritious food all year round. However, achieving Zero Hunger is not only about addressing hunger, it is also about nourishing people, while nurturing the planet. And today, it has become evident that we have dramatically changed the way we eat, damaging our health with soaring levels of obesity - the world spends an estimated two trillion USD each year to treat health problems caused by obesity - while at the same time, destroying biodiversity and the planet through intensified food production.

Ladies and gentlemen

This is the reason why this year’s theme for World Food Day, “Our Actions are Our Future: Healthy Diets for a Zero Hunger World”, is a wake-up call to all of us. A call to rethink how we grow, share and consume our food.

Ladies and gentlemen, the urgency of this call is made so eloquently clear by the United Nations Secretary-General, Mr. Antonio Guterres, that at this point, I would like, with your permission, to pause and read his message:

Quote:

“World Food Day is a global call for Zero Hunger -- for a world where nutritious food is available and affordable for everyone, everywhere.  

But today, more than 820 million people do not have enough to eat.

And the climate emergency is an increasing threat to food security.

Meanwhile, two billion men, women and children are overweight or obese.

Unhealthy diets present an enormous risk of disease and death.

It is unacceptable that hunger is on the rise at a time when the world wastes more than 1 billion tonnes of food every year.

It is time to change how we produce and consume, including to reduce greenhouse emissions.

Transforming food systems is crucial for delivering all the Sustainable Development Goals.

That is why I hope to convene a Food Systems Summit in 2021 as part of the Decade of Action to deliver the Sustainable Development Goals.

As a human family, a world free of hunger is our imperative.”

End of quote

 

Ladies and gentlemen

He said it all. Zero hunger is not only about food quantity but also food quality. Let’s go back home with a renewed commitment to not only feeding the people entrusting in our care but nourishing them. The future of our children, the health of Ghanaians and the prosperity of Ghana depend on it.

I thank you.

 

UN entities involved in this initiative
FAO
Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations
IFAD
International Fund for Agricultural Development
WFP
World Food Programme