The next 15 years will be decisive for our planet’s future.During this period we will face some of the 21st Century’s greatest challenges, amidst an ongoing and profound transition in the global economy.
In the last half-century, people’s lifestyles have changed dramatically. Life expectancy has risen almost everywhere, but this has been accompanied by an increase of so-called non-communicable diseases (NCDs) – such as cardiovascular diseases, cancer, respiratory diseases, and diabetes – causing more and more deaths in all corners of the world.
Artificial meat. Indoor aquaculture. Vertical farms. Irrigation drones. Once the realm of science fiction, these things are now fact. Food production is going high tech – at least, in some places.
The scourge of malnutrition affects the most vulnerable in society, and it hurts most in the earliest stages of life. Today, more than 800 million people are chronically hungry, about 11 percent of the global population.
Continued growth in developing countries, along with poverty-reduction policies, have helped to improve both income and food security globally.
Modern biofuels have become a fact of life, part of a quest for more cost-effective and environmentally sustainable businesses and lifestyles. But to be truly sustainable, biofuel production must strike a balance between its benefits and its potential hidden costs, between energy security and food security.
A sense of urgency brought on in recent years by food price volatility inspired collective action to reduce the likelihood of further price spikes and food supply shocks.
Every year, we take a snapshot of world progress in the fight against chronic hunger. This year, the picture is looking better, but it’s still not good enough.
Around the world, but especially in the planet’s poorest regions, women represent a life force that renews itself daily, sometimes against all odds.
Recent decades have witnessed remarkable rates of growth for many developing countries. That is good news, as high growth rates of GDP per capita are a key factor in reducing food insecurity and malnutrition.
Despite a sudden increase in July this year, prices of cereals on world markets remained fairly stable. But there are no grounds for complacency, as cereals markets remain vulnerable to supply shocks and disruptive policy measures. In this context, the good harvests that are expected in the Southern Hemisphere are important.
The fight against poverty and hunger cannot waste time, nor disdain any scales of action. Public and private initiatives are critical and must include both family farming and so-called agribusiness. It is up to governments and international cooperation to harmonise this collective economic effort and to ensure that bigger harvests translate into increased food security for the needy.
As stated in the 1972 United Nations Conference on the Human Environment and the 1992 Earth Summit, human beings are at the centre of sustainable development. However, even today, over 900 million people still suffer from hunger. Poor populations worldwide, especially in rural areas, are among those most vulnerable to the food, climate, financial, economic, social and energy crises and threats the world faces today.
Guiding the transition from one cycle of development to another is among of the most daunting tasks in politics.
Lula launched the Zero Hunger Programme when he assumed the Brazilian presidency in January 2003, pledging that every Brazilian would be able to eat three meals a day.