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UN's Guterres Says 130 Million People Face Starvation Risk by Year End

UN's Guterres Says 130 Million People Face Starvation Risk by Year End

Saturday, 17 October, 2020 - 06:00
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres attends the 10th ASEAN-UN Summit in Bangkok on November 3, 2019 | Photo: AFP

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said on Friday that efforts must be made to ensure sustainable and healthy diets for all and to minimize food waste.


"We need to ensure sustainable and healthy diets for all, and to minimize food waste," the UN chief said in a message for the World Food Day, which falls on Oct. 16.


"In a world of plenty, it is a grave affront that hundreds of millions go to bed hungry each night," said the secretary-general, adding that the COVID-19 pandemic has further intensified food insecurity to a level not seen in decades.


"Some 130 million people risk being pushed to the brink of starvation by the end of this year," said Guterres. "This is on top of the 690 million people who already lack enough to eat."


"At the same time, more than 3 billion people cannot afford a healthy diet. As we mark the 75th anniversary of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, we need to intensify our efforts to achieve the vision of the Sustainable Development Goals," said the UN chief. "That means a future where everyone, everywhere, has access to the nutrition they need."


Noting that he will convene a Food Systems Summit to inspire action towards this vision next year, the secretary-general said that "we need to make food systems more resistant to volatility and climate shocks."


"And we need food systems that provide decent, safe livelihoods for workers. We have the know-how and the capacity to create a more resilient, equitable, and sustainable world," said the UN chief. "On this World Food Day, let us make a commitment to 'Grow, Nourish, and Sustain. Together.'"


World Food Day is an international day celebrated every year around the world on Oct. 16 in honor of the date of the founding of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations in 1945. The day is celebrated widely by many other organizations concerned with food security, including the World Food Programme and the International Fund for Agricultural Development.


The World Food Programme got the Nobel Prize in Peace for the year 2020 for its efforts to combat hunger, contribution to make peace in conflicted areas, and for playing role of driving force to stop the use of hunger in the form of a weapon for war and conflict.


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