On its 70th anniversary, FAO sets its eyes firmly on Zero Hunger
Ensuring better nutrition for all and transforming the world’s food systems to ensure their future sustainability represent the two greatest challenges facing FAO as it renews its mission to free the world from hunger and malnutrition, the UN agency’s Director-General, José Graziano da Silva, said today.
At a ceremony commemorating the 70th anniversary of FAO’s founding in Quebec City, organized by the Quebec government, Graziano da Silva said: “Our responsibility is growing day by day, and today our mission and mandate remain more relevant than ever,” referring to the new global goal of ending hunger by 2030 adopted by the international community in September.
“And FAO has proven its ability to adapt to a changing world and respond to new challenges,” he added.
The FAO Director-General began his speech by expressing sadness and shock at the recent terrorist attacks that clouded the ceremony on Saturday: “They took place in Paris and Beirut, but they hit all of us around the world,” he said, “regardless of where we are and of whom we are. My solidarity goes to the victims and their families,” he added before turning to the topic of the event.
Speaking at the Chateau de Frontenac on the banks of the Saint Lawrence River where heads of states gathered in 1945 for the first FAO Conference and pledged to unshackle humanity from hunger, Graziano da Silva praised the vision of the agency’s founders.
“Their vision has allowed for agriculture to be considered as the key to human development,” he said, “and for the world to realize that the international community is able to address the problem of hunger and malnutrition globally.”
Attending the ceremony, the Premier of Quebec, Philippe Couillard, said: “The challenge of creating food security for all in the 21st century is more relevant than ever, as climate change affects both the areas and the ways of producing food. I wish FAO every success in the achievement of its development objectives — its expertise is key to global agricultural resilience in response to climate change,” he added.
That a world with Zero Hunger is not just a dream but something than can be realized is evinced by a number of significant achievements made over the past 70 years, Graziano da Silva said.
“We all know, the fight is not over yet,” the FAO Director-General said, emphasizing that around 800 million people all over the world still suffer from hunger today.
“We are faced by many crucial challenges, and the greatest are two,” he said. “First, we must quickly translate increases in food availability into better nutrition for all. Second, we must work faster to alter food production and consumption and create truly sustainable food systems,” according to Graziano da Silva. He underlined that solving these challenges is made more difficult by conflicts, disasters and financial shocks.
“And it is my dream to celebrate this success at FAO’s 85th birthday — a world without hunger, without children stunted or malnourished, a world where all are entitled to adequate food and can produce food sustainable,” he added.