Following are UN Deputy
Secretary-General Amina Mohammed's remarks at the Africa Regional Food Systems
It is a pleasure to speak to
you today, at this Africa Regional Dialogue in support of the Food Systems
Summit. We meet at a time of rising food insecurity and hunger.
Between 720 million and 811 million people in the world faced hunger in 2020 - as many as 161 million more than in 2019.
No region of the world has been
spared; but the numbers show persistent regional inequalities. About one
in five people in Africa faced hunger in 2020 - more than double the proportion
of any other region.
The high cost of nutritious
diets, coupled with high levels of poverty and income inequality, continue to
keep healthy diets out of reach for around 3 billion people in every region of
the world. Of these, 1 billion of our African sisters and brothers could
not afford a healthy diet in 2019.
Malnutrition in all its forms
remains entrenched, particularly among women and children. Most children
under 5 years with malnutrition live in Africa and Asia. Thirty-seven per
cent of world's stunted children can be found in Africa.
These tragic numbers are not
new. Hunger was on the rise even before the onset of the COVID-19
pandemic. Nor do these numbers tell us the whole picture.
While we are severely off track
to achieve Sustainable Development Goal 2 - zero hunger - by 2030, this Goal
cannot be achieved in isolation. Ending hunger requires us to consider
food as a system, revealing a range of intersecting challenges that are
undermining our progress towards all the SDGs.
Take the climate crisis.
Globally, one third of greenhouse gas emissions originate in our food
systems. Agriculture is also responsible for up to 80 per cent of
biodiversity loss, and continues to overuse our diminishing natural resources,
including land and water. Around the world, an estimated 600 million
people - almost 1 in 10 - fall ill after eating contaminated food each year.
Despite all these worrying
trends, I remain optimistic. But we must act with urgency.
Science has confirmed that
transforming our food systems offers an opportunity to drive progress across
the board, from climate action to reducing pollution. This is the
rationale of the Food Systems Summit. Over 140 Member States have
responded to my invitation to convene national Food Systems Summit
Dialogues. The majority of the African continent is participating:
44 countries, over 80 per cent of all African Governments, are leading national
recognize the importance of this issue, particularly at a time of crisis.
But there is no "one-size-fits-all" solution. Food systems vary by
location; our approaches must be rooted in local and regional realities.
Food systems dialogues are
engaging a diverse range of participants. Where they are present, United
Nations resident coordinators and country teams are playing a fundamental role.
Like the power or transport
sectors, food systems can and must contribute to the green and blue
transitions. This means, for example, being less dependent on fossil
fuels-based fertilizers and more attuned to nature-based solutions such as
natural soil regeneration. Solutions exist, and they can be deployed at
scale, to fight in the same stroke climate change, hunger and malnutrition
while preserving our planet.
Through the 2030 Agenda, the
world has agreed on a bold vision for the future. Through Agenda 2063, Africa
has articulated its master plan for transforming itself into the global
powerhouse of the future. Our task now is keeping our promises by
delivering on the commitments we have made, through accelerated action.
The aim of this Dialogue is to
help you to think through how to strengthen national pathways for food systems
transformation to achieve the 2030 Agenda [for Sustainable Development].
This should be one of the main outcomes of the Food Systems Summit. In
addition to your national progress, this dialogue can help bring a unified
African voice to the upcoming Pre-Summit in Rome at the end of July, and to the
Summit in September in New York.
In Rome, the outcomes of
regional dialogues around the world will converge with the other work streams
of the Summit process. These strands are generating ideas for enhanced
global cooperation in support of country and regional priorities.
By the time of the Summit in
New York, we will be able to show how countries and regions around the world
have articulated their own pathways to 2030, joined by a range of partners to
accompany them on their journey.
I am encouraged to see African
countries come together at this Dialogue. We need African leadership to
realize our vision and meet the Goal of zero hunger by 2030. I wish you
every success at this meeting and look forward to an outcome that puts us on
track to delivering a more sustainable and resilient food future for all
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