World Food Day -16thOctober-2022-Voice of the Voiceless: Leave no one Behind

( Dr. K . M. George, President, Sustainable Development Forum ( SDF) An Indian Think Tank, Email; Mobile 91 9947670887)

@@@@ Bell is not a bell—;Song is not song———: WFD is not WFD unless it ensures food security for all.
@@@@@We must be in the same wave length– Music in the ear-Rohit with his cousins—Anajali—Rani—Anita–Aswathy

1) World Food Day is celebrated on 16th October every year to commemorate the establishment of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation, popularly known as FAO, in the year 1945. FAO makes sure that there is equality and justice among the agri-food farmers, supply chains and other employers, so that they can produce food and it can reach to the needy.

The main aim behind celebrating this day is to spread awareness about the rising problem of hunger and how people around the world waste food while some do not have access to clean, safe and nutritious food.

2) The world food day is observed every year with specially selected themes . For the year 2022, the theme is “ leave no one behind”. Let us be reminded of the often quoted development slogan, “ include and prosper; exclude and perish”. Inclusiveness must become the hall mark for global development and prosperity. In a way, to achieve the SDGs of the UN, we must embrace the new slogan of inclusiveness , in letter and spirit.

3) In order to have better appreciation of the theme, we must acquaint ourselves with the world scenario in terms of global population and the challenges it throws at the policy makers and programme managers, both vertically and horizontally. It is estimated that the current world population is 8 billion. While China accounts for 1.42 billion, the share of India is 1.41 billion. India at this rate may easily overtake China in 2023.

4) Anticipating the world food shortages, one of the arms of the UN, namely IFAD is operating very vigorously with its declared slogan of , “ investing in rural people” with some discernible impact in many regions. IFAD is very active in Africa. The major issue to be addressed is global food security. There are mountains of huge food grains supply while vast oceans of starvation on account inadequate supply and distribution is still a major issue to be addressed. It is a strange paradox of poverty amidst plenty!

5) According to the UN- World Food Programme ( WFP), some 960 million people do not have enough food to keep them healthy. Out of this, some 64 million are scattered across 12 Arab states. The situation is worse in the African regions. A study conducted by Humboldt University ,last year using satellite data finds that in Syria 943,000 ( 1 million) hectares of cultivated land lost between 2010 and 2018 ( a decrease of 20%). In January 2022, Goldman Sachs, a bank predicated the start of a commodities super cycle, with higher demand spurred by loosening pandemic restrictions and a weaker dollar. This is the major worry in Egypt as it imports some 13 million tonnes of wheat every year for subsidised bread making.
6) We need to put the theme in the right perspective for our better perception and appreciation. I cannot do it better than quoting Pope Francis.
“We are currently witnessing a real paradox in terms of access to food: on the one hand, more than 3 billion people do not have access to a nutritious diet, while on the other hand, almost 2 billion are overweight or obese due to a poor diet and a sedentary lifestyle. If we do not want to jeopardise the health of our planet and our entire population, we need to actively engage in change at all levels and reorganise food systems as a whole.
I would like to indicate four areas where action is urgently needed: in the fields, at sea, at the table and in reducing food losses and waste. Our lifestyles and daily consumption practices influence global and environmental dynamics, but if we are to make a real difference, we must encourage producers and consumers to make ethical and sustainable choices and raise awareness among the younger generations of the important role they play in making a world without hunger a reality. Each of us can play our part in this noble cause, starting with our daily lives and the simplest gestures. Knowing our Common Home, protecting it and being aware of its importance is the first step towards being stewards and promoters of the environment.

The pandemic gives us the opportunity to change course and invest in a global food system that can deal sensibly and responsibly with future crises. In this regard, the valuable contribution of small-scale producers is crucial, facilitating their access to innovation that, when applied to the agri-food sector, can strengthen resistance to climate change, increase food production and support those working in the food value chain.
The fight against hunger demands we overcome the cold logic of the market, which is greedily focused on mere economic profit and the reduction of food to a commodity, like many others, and strengthen the logic of solidarity.”
@@@Must see more than what the eyes meet Patels Story
7) COVID-19 has pushed the world back and increased the problem of hunger, poverty, and malnutrition. It has put immense pressure on the agri-food system which was already dealing with price hikes, climate change, extreme weather, food waste, supply chain and environmental factors that hinder the proper functioning.

8) There are very many challenges faced by the global food security of late. They include the covid-19 pandemic, reginal conflicts, climate change, rising food grains prices and international tensions that are being experienced among the regions. The recent Ukraine skirmishes since March 2022 have among others, prevented the transportation of wheat from Ukraine to the most needy regions like Africa, Europe and the Middle East Regions. There is a piquant situation of abject poverty amidst islands of prosperity in terms of grains production and distribution due to conflicts and international tensions, where the recipients can hardly do anything other than cursing their fate!

9) How to Link up World Food Day to SDGs?

The 17 sustainable development goals (SDGs) to transform our world:
GOAL 1: No Poverty
GOAL 2: Zero Hunger
GOAL 3: Good Health and Well-being
GOAL 4: Quality Education
GOAL 5: Gender Equality
GOAL 6: Clean Water and Sanitation
GOAL 7: Affordable and Clean Energy
GOAL 8: Decent Work and Economic Growth
GOAL 9: Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure
GOAL 10: Reduced Inequality
GOAL 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities
GOAL 12: Responsible Consumption and Production
GOAL 13: Climate Action
GOAL 14: Life Below Water
GOAL 15: Life on Land
GOAL 16: Peace and Justice Strong Institutions
GOAL 17: Partnerships to achieve the Goal

10) Which SDG is related to food?

The Sustainable Development Goal to “End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture” (SDG2) recognizes the inter linkages among supporting sustainable agriculture, empowering small farmers, promoting gender equality, ending rural poverty, ensuring healthy lifestyles.

Which SDG deals with hunger?

Goal 2 seeks sustainable solutions to end hunger in all its forms by 2030 and to achieve food security. The aim is to ensure that everyone everywhere has enough good-quality food to lead a healthy life. Achieving this Goal will require better access to food and the widespread promotion of sustainable agriculture.
SDG 3 aspires to ensure health and well-being for all, including a bold commitment to end the epidemics of AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria, and other communicable diseases by 2030. It also aims to achieve universal health coverage and provide access to safe and effective medicines and vaccines for all.

SDG 11: Make cities inclusive, safe, resilient, and sustainable. The world is becoming increasingly urbanized. Since 2007, more than half of the world’s population has been living in cities, and that share is projected to rise to 60 per cent by 2030.

Five Pillars of the SDGs: (5 Ps)

The five SDG pillars are people, prosperity, planet, peace, and partnership.

11) There are 169 targets of sustainable development goals. The most critical ones for our consideration include, among others:
• End poverty in all its forms everywhere.
• End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture.
• Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages.
• Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all.

• 12) SDGs must be made the handmaid of the WFD theme –“Leave no one Behind” Authorities must set up with immediate effect a world food bank in the lines of the Food Corporation of India with corruption free public distribution system in place to ensure that no one dies out of hunger. Again, under the G-20 of nations, massive programmes may be taken up for aggressive procurement and equitable distribution of grains and pulses to tide over the lean seasons and to ensure food security for everyone.

• As the World Bank President Mr David Malpass said last week , India must lead G- 20 in Education, Climate and Debt Sustainability. India is a creditor for Sri Lanka and some of the heavily indebted African Countries. India has provided this year to Sri Lanka some $4 billion and is restructuring its debt. There is some kind of debt distress. Again some 70 % of the children in developing countries are in the trap of education poverty after the pandemic. Reducing the greenhouse gas emissions must be accorded top priority. The forthcoming November 2022 UN Climate Change Conference in Sharm El Sheik is incredibly important.

• Although we have made progress towards building a better world, too many people have been left behind. People who are unable to benefit from human development, innovation or economic growth.

• In fact, millions of people around the world cannot afford a healthy diet, putting them at high risk of food insecurity and malnutrition. But ending hunger isn’t only about supply. Enough food is produced today to feed everyone on the planet.

• The problem is access and availability of nutritious food, which is increasingly impeded by multiple challenges including the COVID-19 pandemic, conflict, climate change, inequality, rising prices and international tensions. People around the world are suffering the domino effects of challenges that know no borders.

• Worldwide, more than 80 percent of the extreme poor live in rural areas and many rely on agriculture and natural resources for their living. They are usually the hardest hit by natural and man-made disasters and often marginalized due to their gender, ethnic origin, or status. It is a struggle for them to gain access to training, finance, innovation and technologies.

• Let me draw this to a conclusion Mr Chairman sir–

• I came, I saw and I am conquered!

Thank –You Thank You—Thank you

• PS
While food wastage needs to be addressed, more serious is the need for arresting overpopulation and resultant water scarcity.
There are unbalanced birth and death rates. Apart from other factors leading to overpopulation, preaching of religious zealots (“religious values”) for producing more children are creating havoc in Asian and African States.
On one hand, we curse the developed world for the disharmony and on the other hand third world overpopulation is overconsuming food and water due to increased population growth.

Steps discussed by world bodies for food security will be overrun in a few years due to overpopulation. We cannot reinvent a new planet with additional resources to meet the increasing demands but only make adjustments here and there which have its limitations.

Therefore while talking of food for the world, educational resources, awareness, sex education etc should also be highlighted because stable solution lies in population (or overpopulation) control.

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