Secretary-General's Message for World Food Day (16 October 2015)

This year’s observance of World Food Day follows the landmark adoption by world leaders of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, including a set of 17 goals to guide our work towards a future of dignity and prosperity for all on a healthy planet.  

How we choose to grow, process, distribute and consume the food we eat has a profound effect on people, planet, prosperity and peace.  Delivering on the promise of the 2030 Agenda will not be possible without rapid progress towards ending hunger and undernutrition.  In the same way, delivering on the commitment to end hunger forever, for all people, will not be possible without major gains across the new Agenda.

Sustainable Development Goal 2 summons us to “end hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture”.  The world has achieved important progress; since 2000, the proportion of undernourished people has declined by nearly half.  At the same time, in a world where nearly a third of all food produced is lost or wasted, and where we produce enough food to feed everyone, almost 800 million people still suffer from hunger.  The path out of poverty is proving to be too slow for too many.

The theme for World Food Day 2015 -- Social Protection and Agriculture: Breaking the Cycle of Rural Poverty -- highlights the crucial role of cash transfers, insurance, pensions and other social protection programmes in enabling vulnerable people to better manage risks and build profitable livelihoods.

The Zero Hunger Challenge that I launched in 2012 underscores the need for national leadership in tandem with wide-ranging multi-stakeholder partnerships. Ending hunger is everyone’s responsibility.  Farmers, scientists, international organizations, activists, businesses and consumers all have a role to play.  Building inclusive, resilient and sustainable food systems also demands that we empower women farmers, provide opportunities for young people and invest in smallholder farmers.

Hunger is more than a lack of food – it is a terrible injustice.  On World Food Day, let us reaffirm our commitment to work together to end to hunger in our lifetime.