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Food Security: Italy calls for global and multi-dimensional approach

NEW YORK, JULY 12 – As Chair of the Group of Friends on Food Security and Nutrition, Italy delivered today a joint statement at the State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World 2021 Report launch, urging global and multi-dimensional action to reverse the course and get the Sustainable Development 2 back on track.

“The G20 Matera Declaration and its related Call to Action on Food Security and the Food Coalition with FAO are key-factors on the road to the United Nations Food Systems Summit next September in New York and its Pre-Summit at the end of July in Rome”, the Deputy Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Ambassador Stefano Stefanile, said at the meeting. 

In recent years, several major drivers have put the world off track to ending world hunger and malnutrition in all its forms by 2030. The challenges have grown with the COVID-19 pandemic and related containment measures, states the Report, presenting  the first global assessment of food insecurity and malnutrition for 2020 and offering some indication of what hunger might look like by 2030 in a scenario further complicated by the enduring effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Without a breakthrough now the international community will miss the Zero Hunger goal in 2030. The data presented today in the Report on the ‘State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World’ say unequivocally that
unequivocally that with the pandemic, the situation has worsened in a few months”, Maurizio Martina, deputy director general of FAO, commented on the annual Report: “Up to 811 million people do not have enough food,
with in particular a worrying aggravation of the condition children. We need a decisive and operational turnaround as soon as possible and
it is necessary to redouble efforts because the time available is short”.

For the second year in a row, the Report includes new estimates of the cost and affordability of healthy diets, which provide an important link between the food security and nutrition indicators and the analysis of their trends. Altogether, the Report highlights the need for a deeper reflection on how to better address the global food security and nutrition situation.

Since well before the COVID-19 pandemic, several major drivers have put the world off track to ending world hunger and malnutrition in all its forms by 2030. Now, the COVID-19 pandemic and related containment measures have made it significantly more challenging to achieve this goal, the Report said. But they have also highlighted the need for deeper reflection on how to better address the major drivers that are resulting in the global food insecurity and malnutrition situation we are experiencing right now.

In 2014, the long decline in world hunger that had begun in 2005 came to a halt. The number of people experiencing undernourishment began to slowly increase until, in 2020, the world witnessed an unprecedented setback in its hunger eradication efforts, as the latest estimates in this year’s report indicate. Moreover, progress in reducing child stunting has slowed significantly, and adult overweight and obesity continue to increase in rich and poor countries alike.

How did the world get to this critical point? – is one of the key questions posed in this year’s report. In answering it, the report draws on the analyses of the past four editions, which have produced a vast, evidence-based body of knowledge of the major drivers behind the recent changes in food security and nutrition. This is updated with new data to feed into a broader analysis of how these drivers interact, allowing for a holistic view of their combined effects both on each other and on food systems. The knowledge accumulated from these past editions is grounded in evidence. The development and monitoring of food security and nutrition indicators have made it possible to make clear diagnoses at global, regional and country levels. Furthermore, analysis of these indicators has allowed us to statistically associate major drivers with recent setbacks in ending world hunger and malnutrition in all its forms by 2030. This has been fundamental in helping us to understand entry points for policy to address these drivers.

Three of the major drivers behind the recent changes in food security and nutrition identified in the past four editions are conflict, climate variability and extremes, and economic slowdowns and downturns, which are exacerbated by the underlying causes of poverty and very high and persistent levels of inequality. In addition, millions of people around the world suffer from food insecurity and different forms of malnutrition because they cannot afford the cost of healthy diets. Unaffordability of healthy diets is the result of myriad factors driving up the cost of nutritious food and reducing people’s incomes. This fourth driver is associated with increasing food insecurity and all forms of malnutrition, including stunting, wasting, micronutrient deficiencies, overweight and obesity, and non-communicable diseases (NCDs). Last year, this report also presented a preliminary assessment that warned about the potentially unprecedented effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on food security and nutrition in 2020. This year’s report confirms this evidence, presenting the first global assessment of food insecurity and malnutrition for 2020, which makes use of the most recent data collected around the world in this challenging year. (@OnuItalia)

Il giornale Italiano delle Nazioni Unite. Ha due redazioni, una a New York, l’altra a Roma.

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