Urging stronger actions to make healthy diets accessible and affordable
16 October 2019
FAO celebrates World Food Day and highlights the role of all sectors to Zero Hunger
With the goal of achieving Zero Hunger by 2030, the FAO Regional Office for Africa and FAO Ghana Country Office are joining hands with different stakeholders to celebrate World Food Day with a series of events from 15 to 18 October 2019 in Accra, Ghana.
This year, FAO is calling for action across sectors to make healthy and sustainable diets accessible and affordable to everyone. Africa is still not on track in achieving the Sustainable Development Goal 2: Zero Hunger.
FAO’s flagship report ‘The State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World 2018’ illustrates an uptick of the number of people suffering from hunger and malnutrition with 239 million people in sub-Saharan Africa or one in five people in the region.
“The heart of the development agenda ticks from the elimination of hunger and all forms of malnutrition. There are no chances of achieving the common vision of a safe, fair, peaceful and prosperous world when perennial hunger and not having access to nutritious foods mire millions of people in a punishing cycle,” said Abebe Haile-Gabriel, the FAO Assistant Director-General and Regional Representative for Africa.
Dietary habits have moved from seasonal, mainly plant-based and fiber-rich dishes to diets that are high in refined starches, sugar, fats, salt, processed foods, meat and other animal-source products as a result of globalization, urbanization, and income growth. Such a changing trend has led to the rise of different forms of malnutrition, including obesity, running parallel to the challenges of hunger in the region.
An unhealthy diet is the leading risk factor of death across the globe for non-communicable diseases (NCDs) including cardiovascular diseases, diabetes and certain cancers. It also has a huge socio-economic cost.
Our Actions are Our Future
To spike up inspirations into actions, this year FAO is harnessing colorful and dynamic ways to spread the World Food Day spirit among key stakeholders, especially youth, the future forces for change towards Zero Hunger in Africa. This year’s celebration includes celebrities such as Kwame Eugene, DJ Switch, and Chef Addo to actively engage audiences and demonstrate healthy eating of nutritious indigenous foods. Over the next four days, events such as panel discussions on achieving Zero Hunger, live performances on the cycle of life - from Seed to Salad, cooking demonstration of the Tastes of the Sahel, and a healthy diet walk parade across Accra City are planned.
Abebe Haile-Gabriel urged all stakeholders to take action actions, “Governments to support investments in nutritious and healthy diets by putting in place the right policies and mechanisms in place; smallholder farmers to diversify production through adopting sustainable agricultural practices, the private food businesses to invest in foods that are more nutritious and adhere to nutrition-related laws and regulations. Most of all, we need people to be health conscious and make informed choices on what to consume.”
“This year we have put extra efforts in engaging children and youth to channel through the voices of the future generation. Children and women continue to suffer irreversible effects while nation and the world loses quality human resources for holistic growth due to unhealthy nourishment choices culminating into avoidable non-communicable diseases, highlighted Jocelyn Brown-Hall, FAO Representative to Ghana.
She added, “For us to reverse the undesirable trend, partnerships are fundamental. Farmers, Governments, researchers, the private sector and consumers, all have a role to play. FAO will continue its support to Ghana and other member countries in their efforts /to make sustainable healthy diets /a reality for all.”
World Food Day (WFD) and FAO
FAO celebrates WFD each year on 16 October to commemorate the founding of the Organization in 1945. Events are organized in up to 150 countries across the world, making it one of the most celebrated days of the United Nations (UN) calendar. These events promote worldwide awareness and action for those who suffer from hunger and for the need to achieve Zero Hunger, ensuring food security and nutritious diets for all. WFD is a chance to call for greater commitment to achieve Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 2, and a day to highlight FAO’s role in leading global efforts to achieve Zero Hunger since the Organization was established in 1945. WFD 2019 marks the 74th anniversary of the Organization’s founding, and the 39th observance of WFD.