THE SECRETARY-GENERAL--MESSAGE ON WORLD FOOD DAY “UNITED AGAINST HUNGER”: 16 October 2010
For many people, today is not World Food Day. It is another No Food Day. Although the number of hungry people has fallen from last year's historic high of more than one billion, there are still 925 million hungry people in the world. We are continually reminded that the world's food systems are not working in ways that ensure food security for the most vulnerable members of our societies.
The hunger target set out in the first Millennium Development Goal -- to cut the proportion of hungry people by half by 2015 -- is a pillar for achieving all the goals. When people are hungry, they cannot break the crippling chains of poverty, and are vulnerable to infectious diseases. When children are hungry, they cannot grow, learn and develop.
This year alone, millions have been thrown into life-threatening hunger by the earthquake in Haiti, drought in the Sahel and floods in Pakistan. The food and financial crises continue to affect the world's most vulnerable. Food prices remain volatile and recently hit a two-year high.
This year's theme for World Food Day, “United Against Hunger,” reflects a welcome development: a growing number of governments, intergovernmental organizations, regional and sub-regional bodies, businesses and civil society groups are forming partnerships and implementing joint solutions. Increasingly, their approach is comprehensive -- focusing on more stable supplies of food, better access to food and optimizing nutrition at the household level. They cover the full spectrum of food security, from smallholder farming to feeding schoolchildren. They help save lives in emergencies through food assistance.
In recent months, there has been more attention to nutrition and getting the right food to the right people at the right time. This calls for agriculture, health and social security systems to be sensitive to nutritional needs, and for specific interventions to improve the nutrition of children from conception to the age of two years.
I urge everyone to work towards such a comprehensive approach, and to do so in partnership, so that we can build on the progress we have made in reducing the numbers of hungry people. Let us unite against hunger and ensure food and nutrition security for all.