Enige på Verdensfødevaredag: Landbrug og kvinder har nøglen til at lukke sultens dør
Verdensfødevareprogrammets chef betegnede ligefrem u-landenes kvinder som "det hemmelige våben mod sult"
ROME, 17 October 2011: United Nations Agency chiefs and top international personalities met Monday to celebrate World Food Day, whose focus this year is on the recent wave of food price swings which threatens to push millions more people into hunger.
"Food prices - from crisis to stability," was chosen as the World Food Day theme for 2011 following five consecutive years of unstable and often rising food prices, which currently stand close to record levels.
Commemorating the UN food and agricultural agency FAO's founding in 1945, World Food Day is celebrated in at least 150 countries across the globe.
In a message to the World Food Day ceremony at FAO headquarters, Pope Benedict XVI said that fighting famine and hunger required both immediate and long-term solutions.
He described as "lamentable" (beklagelig/sørge-lig) the idea gaining ground that food was just merchandise and thus "subject to speculative movements".
Agriculture promoted economic growth, he declared: "Agricultural work should not be considered as a secondary activity, but rather as an object of all strategies for growth and integral development"
"Liberation from the yoke (åg) of hunger is the first concrete manifestation of the right to life," he added.
More investment needed
FAO Director-General Jacques Diouf said that more than 80 billion US dollar of additional investment is required annually in agriculture and related activities to ensure food supplies for the world in 2050.
Greater investment is the key to mitigating (lindre/modvirke) food price fluctuations and building poor people and nations' resilience, Diouf said, adding:
- The background to the devastating impact of soaring and volatile food prices on the livelihoods of the poor is 20 years of under-investment in agriculture and neglect of the sector.
- The crisis in the Horn of Africa shows that both short and long-term responses are needed and that predictable financial resources are required to tackle the root causes of famine and food insecurity, Diouf noted.
Make it happen
- The world has the knowledge and financial means needed to ensure food security for all, and thus a more stable world. Now is the time to make it happen, he concluded.
Michelle Bachelet, former President of the Republic of Chile and current UN Under-Secretary-General and Executive Director, UN Women, said that a significant cause of food insecurity is "the poverty and discrimination faced by women and girls, including women farmers".
- Since women are on the frontlines of food security, we need to put their needs and rights at the forefront of trade and agricultural policies and investments to move from crisis to stability, she declared.
- If the world is to meet the challenge of feeding people today and 9 billion people by 2050, we must invest in girls and women, who are key to food security... Empowering women and girls is key to progress in development, food security and improved nutrition, Michelle Bachelet added.
In a message read to the ceremony, Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, President of the Republic of Equatorial Guinea and current Chair of the African Union, said that Africa and sub-Saharan Africa in particular is bearing the brunt of the food price crisis.
He identified the priorities for Africa as "improving productivity and competitiveness of small farmers, investment in agriculture and policies related to land tenure". He called for a spirit of national and international solidarity to reduce the number of people suffering hunger round the world.
Italian Agriculture Minister Francesco Saverio Romano said that the world's rich, industrialized countries had the responsibility of restoring agriculture and food security to the centre of the international political agenda.
- Globalization must go hand in hand with rural development directed , in all parts of the world, to the well-being of populations, he added.
Josette Sheeran, Executive Director of the World Food Programme (WFP) also stressed the fundamental role of women:
- Women are the secret weapon against hunger. They are a powerful force in the fight against malnutrition.
- When women have food, children eat. When they are helped to grow food, communities eat. So, an important key to fighting hunger is to provide women with knowledge and skills, capital and tools, to help achieve food security for themselves, their family, and their community.
Cost of neglect
Kanayo F. Nwanze, President of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), stated:
- As long as there is even one person dying of hunger we must do everything within our power to prevent it. The latest crisis in the Horn of Africa shows the terrible human cost of neglect, both of agriculture and rural areas. Droughts are not preventable but famines are.
- There are effective strategies and tools that farmers can use to increase their resilience to climatic and other shocks. Long-term investment in agriculture - not only from international donors but from the countries themselves - is the key to ensuring that such tragedies do not happen again.
The World Food Day ceremony was followed by the opening of the 37th session of the UN Committee on World Food Security (CFS).