The CFS is the United Nations' forum for reviewing policies concerning world food. It is the most inclusive international and intergovernmental platform for all relevant stakeholders to work together to ensure food security and nutrition.
17 October 2012 – With inequalities growing dramatically both within and between countries over the last 10 years, the United Nations marked the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty today with calls to tackle not only the material aspects of the scourge but also its social and educational dimensions and the unequal access to justice.
“Poverty is easy to denounce but difficult to combat,” Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said in his message for the Day. “Those suffering from hunger, want and indignity need more than sympathetic words; they need concrete support.”
Mr. Ban stressed that during times of economic austerity it is even more crucial to put policies in place that will protect the most vulnerable.
“As governments struggle to balance budgets, funding for anti-poverty measures is under threat. But this is precisely the time to provide the poor with access to social services, income security, decent work and social protection,” he said. “Only then can we build stronger and more prosperous society – not by balancing budgets at the expense of the poor.”
With the fight against poverty at the core of the UN development agenda, the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty has been observed every year since 1993, when the UN General Assembly designated this day to promote awareness of the need to eradicate poverty and destitution in all countries.
This year’s theme for the Day, ‘Ending the Violence of Extreme Poverty: Promoting Empowerment and Building Peace,’ highlights the link between poverty and social unrest, as well as the need to provide people with the necessary skills to contribute to society.
16 October 2012, Rome - Agricultural cooperatives, already enriching millions of small-scale farmers, could expand and make an even greater contribution against poverty and hunger, if they were given the right support by governments, civil society and academia.
That is the key message of this year's World Food Day, observed today in 150 countries. The theme this year focuses on "Agricultural cooperatives - key to feeding the world" and coincides with the International Year of Cooperatives. World Food Day also commemorates the date when FAO was founded in 1945.
The fight against hunger was given new impetus last week with the release of figures showing that, despite there being 132 million fewer hungry people in the world compared to 20 years ago, there are still nearly 870 million people who go without enough food every day,
Pope Benedict XVI said in a message for World Food Day that given the human dimension, agricultural cooperatives are able to favour economic development that meet the most pressing local needs.
"Agricultural cooperatives have an alternative vision to those economic models that seem to have as their only goals, profit, the interests of the markets, the use of food crops for non-food purposes and the introduction of new food production technologies without the necessary precautions," the Pope said.
"The presence of cooperatives can put an end to the trend of speculation in essential food commodities intended for human consumption, and reduce the large-scale acquisition of arable lands that in many regions forces farmers off their land because by themselves they are too weak to defend their rights," he said.
15 October 2012, Rome - If countries step up their efforts to reduce hunger, the Millennium Development Goal of halving the proportion of hungry people by 2015 can still be reached, FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva told the opening session of the Committee on World Food Security (CFS) today.
Graziano da Silva said that important progress has been made in cutting the number of hungry people by 132 million since 1990. The proportion of the hungry also fell in the developing world from 23.2 percent to 14.9 percent.
He expressed concern that still around 870 million people are hungry and that hunger has risen in Africa and the Near East. Progress in reducing hunger has stalled since 2007, he said.
"As we renew and increase our commitment to reach the Millennium Development Goal for hunger reduction, let's look beyond it, towards the total eradication of hunger because, when it comes to hunger, the only acceptable number is ‘zero'," Graziano da Silva said.
CFS is the foremost inclusive platform for all stakeholders to work together and recommend policies that will promote food security and nutrition for all. The inter-governmental body is open to participation by civil society, the private sector, international and regional organizations and philanthropic institutions concerned with food security and nutrition. As many as 18 government ministers are expected to attend this year's session.
Zero Hunger Challenge
The meeting heard a further call to action in a video message from UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, who told the opening session "you are at the heart of the next big push - eliminating hunger in our lifetimes".
"Our "Zero Hunger Challenge" has five objectives. They are:
11 October 2012 – The European Union (EU), already the largest single source of voluntary funding to the United Nations food agency, today pledged to scale up its aid to the world body in efforts to fight malnutrition, which kills 2.5 million children annually and afflicts 870 million people overall.
“We are partners in the fight against under-nutrition amongst the world's poorest and in the promotion of global food security,” the European Commission’s President, José Manuel Barroso, said at a meeting with UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) Director-General, José Graziano da Silva, in Brussels.
“For the European Commission, food security is a key priority: worldwide, the EU is already the largest donor of aid to fight food and nutrition insecurity and we will step up our efforts,” he added, according to an FAO news release.
The European Commission represents the interests of the EU as a whole. It proposes new legislation to the European Parliament and the Council of the European Union, and it ensures that EU law is correctly applied by member countries.
In his meeting with Mr. Graziano da Silva, Mr. Barroso reiterated full EU commitment to the UN Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and a development aid target for donor countries of 0.7 per cent of gross national income by their 2015 deadline. “The European Union will continue to support the on-going FAO reform politically, operationally and financially,” he said.
9 October 2012, Rome - Nearly 870 million people, or one in eight, were suffering from chronic undernourishment in 2010-2012, according to the new UN hunger report released today.
The State of Food Insecurity in the World 2012 (SOFI), jointly published by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the World Food Programme (WFP), presents better estimates of chronic undernourishment based on an improved methodology and data for the last two decades.
The vast majority of the hungry, 852 million, live in developing countries -- around 15 percent of their population -- while 16 million people are undernourished in developed countries.
The global number of hungry people declined by 132 million between 1990-92 and 2010-12, or from 18.6 percent to 12.5 percent of the world's population, and from 23.2 percent to 14.9 percent in developing countries - putting the MDG target within reach if adequate, appropriate actions are taken.
The number of hungry declined more sharply between 1990 and 2007 than previously believed. Since 2007-2008, however, global progress in reducing hunger has slowed and leveled off.
"In today's world of unprecedented technical and economic opportunities, we find it entirely unacceptable that more than 100 million children under five are underweight, and therefore unable to realize their full human and socio-economic potential, and that childhood malnutrition is a cause of death for more than 2.5 million children every year," say José Graziano da Silva, Kanayo F. Nwanze and Ertharin Cousin, respectively the Heads of FAO, IFAD and WFP, in a foreword to the report.
4 October 2012, Rome - Following two months of stability, the FAO Food Price Index rose slightly in September 2012, up 1.4 percent, or 3 points, from its level in August.
The Index, based on the prices of a basket of internationally traded food commodities, climbed to 216 points in September from 213 points in August. The rise reflected strengthening dairy and meat prices and more contained increases for cereals. Prices of sugar and oils, on the other hand, fell.
The FAO Index currently stands 22 points below its peak of 238 points in February 2011, and 9 points below its level of 225 points in September 2011.
The FAO Cereal Price Index averaged 263 points in September, 1.0 percent, or 3 points up from August, as gains in wheat and rice prices offset a decline in maize. While shrinking maize export availabilities and high maize prices have been leading cereal markets in recent months, tightening wheat supplies have also become a concern. Nonetheless, international wheat prices fell towards the second half of the month, following the announcement by the Russian Federation that it would not impose restrictions on exports.
The FAO Meat Price Index averaged 175 points in September, up 2.1 percent, or 4 points, from August. The grain-intensive pig and poultry sectors recorded particularly strong gains, increasing by 6 percent and 2 percent respectively.
The FAO Dairy Price Index averaged 188 points in September, up 7 percent, or 12 points, from August, representing the sharpest monthly increase since January 2011. All the five dairy products monitored saw prices rise. World demand for milk products remains firm which, combined with increasing feed costs, is underpinning world prices.
27 September 2012 – High-level political and private sector officials today met in New York to fight childhood and maternal under-nutrition with Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon praising the progress made so far, while stressing the importance of continuing to boost efforts on this front.
“Every household needs to be able to afford safe, nutritious foods. Markets need to be open and fair. The poorest people need to know they can count on social protection that will not let them go hungry,” Mr. Ban said at the high-level meeting on scaling up nutrition, held at the margins of the 67th session of the General Assembly.
Mr. Ban praised the progress made by the Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) Movement, which has been joined by 30 countries – including newest members Burundi and Kenya – which are home to 56 million children suffering from stunted growth due to chronic malnutrition.
The SUN Movement focuses on the critical 1,000-day window between pregnancy and a child’s second birthday, when proper nutrition can mean the difference between health and sickness, life and death. Poor nutrition during this period can lead to stunted growth and impaired cognitive development, among other consequences.
The initiative seeks to integrate various sectors of society to improve nutrition and involves farmers’ cooperatives, consumer associations, local and multinational businesses, health professionals, educators, lawyers, religious groups, human rights activists, development workers and politicians.
27 June 2012 –In the wake of the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20), Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s High Level Task Force on Global Food Security will be reoriented to focus on a new initiative as part of its efforts to ensure a coherent UN system approach to the issue of food and nutrition security.
At Rio+20, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, last week, Mr. Ban launched an initiative known as the ‘Zero Hunger Challenge,’ which invites all countries to work for a future where every individual has adequate nutrition and where all food systems are resilient.
The Task Force will be reoriented to focus on the Challenge’s five objectives as a guide for a coherent UN system approach to food and nutrition security.
The Challenge’s five main objectives are: achieving 100 per cent access to adequate food all year round; ending malnutrition in pregnancy and early childhood; making all food systems sustainable; increasing growth in the productivity and income of smallholders, particularly women; and achieving a zero rate of food waste.
“The Secretary-General noted that since it was established in 2008, the Task Force had made progress in devising a common comprehensive framework for action for the UN system in food and nutrition security, particularly during recent food crises,” Mr. Ban’s spokesperson said, following a meeting of the Task Force on Wednesday morning, which he chaired.
20 June 2012 – United Nations agencies today stressed the need to tackle child hunger and undernutrition in the pursuit of sustainable development, highlighting a joint initiative that offers practical and effective approaches to combat this problem in the most affected countries.
San José del Cabo, México, 19 de junio 2012 - FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva urged world leaders to maintain food and nutritional security as a priority on the G20 agenda in the years to come.
Speaking during the plenary of the G20 Leaders' Summit, Graziano da Silva said: "Hunger is a persistent problem affecting over 900 million human beings worldwide", adding: "The efforts of all G20 members to improve food security must be similarly persistent, even in times of financial crisis."