UN chief encourages change in actions towards sustainable food systems

New YorkUpdated: Oct 17, 2021, 12:07 PM IST
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UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres (file photo) Photograph:(AFP)

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Today, almost 40 per cent of humanity, 3 billion people, cannot afford a healthy diet, Antonio Guterres said

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Saturday encouraged a change in actions toward sustainable food systems on the occasion of World Food Day, which falls on October 16.

In a video message, Guterres said World Food Day is not only a reminder of the importance of food to every person on the planet but also a call to action to achieve food security around the world.

Today, almost 40 per cent of humanity -- 3 billion people -- cannot afford a healthy diet, he said.

Hunger is on the rise, so too are undernourishment and obesity. The economic impacts of COVID-19 have made a bad situation even worse.

The pandemic has left an additional 140 million people unable to access the food they need, he noted.

"At the same time, the way we produce, consume and waste food is taking a heavy toll on our planet. It is putting historic pressure on our natural resources, climate and natural environment -- and costing us trillions of dollars a year," said Guterres. "As this year's theme makes clear, the power to change is in our hands. "The theme for this year's World Food Day is "Our actions are our future."

Last month, the world gathered for the UN Food Systems Summit. Countries made bold commitments to transform food systems: to make healthy diets more affordable and accessible, and to make food systems more efficient, resilient and sustainable at every step, from production and processing to marketing, transportation and delivery, he said.

"We can all change how we consume food, and make healthier choices -- for ourselves, and our planet. In our food systems, there is hope. On this World Food Day, join us as we commit to take transformative action to deliver on the Sustainable Development Goals through food systems that deliver better nutrition, a better environment and a better life for every person," he said.