On 16 October 2010, World Food Day enters its 30th year. The theme of this year’s observance, “United against hunger”, seeks to recognize the efforts made in the fight against world hunger by all actors, at all levels; and urges us to be even more united to do more.
In 2009, the critical threshold of one billion hungry people in the world was reached in large part due to soaring food prices and the global economic crisis. The gravity of the silent hunger crisis is the result of decades of neglect of agriculture and under-investment in the sector. That is why on the eve of the “Hunger Summit” of heads of state and government held in Rome, in November 2009, FAO launched a petition to reflect the moral outrage of the situation.
This “1 billion hungry project” reaches out to persons to sign the anti-hunger petition and to work together to amplify the message that society has to take special care that no one goes hungry today. Over 1 million people have signed and the project is continuing.
FAO has united with the popular world of professional sport. Together with the European Professional Football Leagues (EPFL) and other regional football leagues, a 2nd Match Day against Hunger will be organized in Europe from 22 to 24 October 2010 as part of the Professional Football against Hunger Solidarity campaign.
The theme “United against hunger” highlights the need to launch a new green revolution, while emphasizing that the task of increasing food production is a job for everyone as is the goal of ensuring access to food. Partnerships with governments, research institutes and universities, financial institutions and regional development banks, farmers’ organizations, pressure groups, the UN system, civil society and the private sector are needed to work together to achieve food security for all.
World food production will need to increase by 70 percent to feed a population of over nine billion people in 2050. With limited land, farmers will have to get greater yields out of the land already under cultivation.
Smallholder farmers and their families represent some 2.5 billion people, more than one-third of the global population, and it is their crucial contribution to increased food production that we want to highlight.
Collaboration among international organizations plays a key strategic role in directing global efforts to reach the international hunger reduction goals. It is only by working together that we can realize our common objective.
In the reformed Committee on World Food Security (CFS), the UN system, member nations, representatives of civil society, farmers’ organizations, the private sector, as well as international agricultural research institutions and international and regional financial institutions offer an inclusive international platform for policy convergence and the coordination of action and expertise in the fight against hunger in the world.
On this World Food Day 2010, when there are an estimated 925 million hungry people in the world, let us reflect on the future. Agriculture and food security are finally back to the international agenda. And, with political will, determination and persistence, more food can be sustainably produced and adequately distributed.
United we can defeat hunger.