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On World Food Day, FAO, WFP call for action to improve production, distribution systems

Published 15 Oct,2020 via The Jordan Times AMMAN — On October 16, World Food Day, celebrated in over 150 countries around the world, the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) and the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) in Jordan are calling for action to improve food production and distribution systems to reduce waste, avoid alarming surges in the level of global hunger and help people better withstand shocks such as the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to the ‘State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World 2020’ report produced by FAO, IFAD, UNICEF, WFP and WHO, over 2 billion people do not have regular access to safe, nutritious and sufficient food, according to a FAO statement.

It said that 135 million people across 55 countries and territories experience crisis levels of acute food insecurity and require urgent food, nutrition and livelihoods assistance.

According to the 2019 Global Hunger Index, a tool designed to measure and track hunger at global, regional and national levels in countries with sufficient data to calculate Global Hunger Index scores, Jordan ranks 43rd out of 107 with a score of 8.8, Jordan has a level of hunger that is low.

However, the latest joint WFP and FAO assessment on food security in Jordan implemented in partnership with IFAD and the World Bank showed that 19 per cent of refugees in Jordan are now food insecure, compared with 14 per cent in 2018, a concerning increase that highlights the rising vulnerability and the need to help such families improve their food security, the statement said.

Building food security is in line with the remarks made by His Majesty King Abdullah at the plenary session of the 75th United Nations General Assembly in September, where he emphasised the importance of safeguarding the environment and responding to the threats to food security which put vulnerable refugees and Jordanian communities living in poverty at risk.

The need for concerted action to improve agricultural production while enhancing global supply chains and ending food waste is captured in this year’s World Food Day theme: “Grow, Nourish, Sustain. Together. Our Actions are our Future”. It communicates the message that, after a period of decline, world hunger is on the rise again.

FAO and WFP in Jordan have a long-term presence in Jordan, working with the government to improve agriculture and support rural communities including farmers. Both agencies have further intensified their activities in response to COVID-19 due to the increased vulnerability of impoverished communities dependent on agriculture for their livelihoods, the statement said.

One of WFP and FAO’s main partners working on food security in Jordan is the National Alliance Against Hunger and Malnutrition whose president, HRH Princess Basma works closely with both agencies to advocate for achieving the Sustainable Development Goal (2) – Zero Hunger.

This day also marks the 75th anniversary of FAO, unique timing as countries around the world address the widespread effects of the pandemic, read the statement.

FAO was founded on October 16, 1945 and has worked in over 130 countries worldwide “to further agricultural knowledge and nutritional wellbeing and help grow, nourish and sustain the gifts of our soils, the livelihoods of our people and the legacy of our planet”.

“World Food Day is a time to look to the future we need to build together. No one government or organisation can achieve these goals alone. Now more than ever, there is a need for global solidarity to help all people, especially the most vulnerable, confront the crises facing the planet – multiple conflicts, climate change and COVID-19,”the statement said.

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World Food Day