Another one billion suffer from “hidden hunger”, a lack of vitamins and minerals.
A statement issued jointly by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, the International Fund for Agricultural Development, the World Food Programme and Bioversity International in Rio de Janeiro on Wednesday has said.
The statement was issued in connection with the United Nations conference on Sustainable development dubbed “Rio+20 conference” underway in Rio de Janeiro, brazil.
It said undernourishment in children prevented them from ever reaching their full physical and cognitive potential, costing lives, livelihoods and economic growth.
“We must all understand that the Rio vision of sustainable development cannot be achieved as long as hunger and extreme poverty persist,” it noted.
It will require not just universal acceptance of the right of every person to be free from hunger, but also profound changes in the way we produce and consume food and manage the earth’s resources.
It said Rio+20 gives us a golden opportunity to bring together the agendas of food security and sustainable development to build the future we want.
According to the statement Rio+20 must demonstrate the political will to improve governance, reform policy and, above all, take action to fight hunger.
“All our efforts toward “sustainable development” will be in vain if we cannot feed humanity and also safeguard the resources upon which life depends,” it added.
It said it was shared challenge that involved actions that must be undertaken by government, the private sector and civil society, and producers and consumers of food themselves.
The statement said the world now faced the challenge of raising global food production by 60 per cent by 2050 while managing the natural resource base so that we are not robbing future generations.
It said the principles of inclusiveness, equity, gender equality and a rights-based approach must be upheld both in the consultative process and the actions undertaken.
It called for the scaling up of safety nets and building resilient livelihoods and landscapes, to ensure access to adequate and nutritious food at all times for the poorest and most vulnerable people in both rural and urban areas.
“Disaster risk management and resilience-building need to be adopted by food-insecure countries and communities exposed to increasing land degradation and resource scarcity,” the statement said.