UN chief encourages change in actions toward sustainable food systems
Published: Oct 20, 2021 03:18 PM
United Nations (UN) Secretary-General Antonio Guterres addresses a presentation ceremony at the UN headquarters in New York, on June 28, 2021. Afghanistan on Monday presented a painting, entitled The Unseen Afghanistan, to the UN. Afghanistan's UN Ambassador Adela Raz said at the presentation ceremony that the artwork is the first gift presented by Afghanistan to the UN since 1963. (Manuel Elías/UN Photo/Handout via Xinhua)

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres File photo:Xinhua

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

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 percent 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." In September, 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.