Activating global commitment to eradicating hunger

Minister of Awqaf and Islamic Affairs and Minister of Municipal Affairs Mohammad Al-Jabri

ROME: Minister of Awqaf and Islamic Affairs and Minister of Municipal Affairs Mohammad Al-Jabri stressed yesterday Kuwait’s firm support to the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and its efforts to eliminate hunger and poverty in the world.

Jabri said, during the 40th Session FAO Conference in Rome, that Kuwait renewed its confidence in the international organization and its goals in fighting poverty and hunger. Kuwait also supported the organization’s policies towards achieving the goals of the 2030 Global Agenda for Sustainable Development. Jabri also expressed hope to develop Kuwait’s cooperation with FAO, through signing an imminent partnership agreement for agricultural development, which will contribute to enhancing Kuwait’s food and nutrition security and develop the technical capabilities of human and natural resources.

Representative of Kuwait announced at this conference Kuwait’s “preliminary approval” of two projects of the partnership program between Kuwait and the organization, mainly DNA project for agriculture and the project of agricultural waste recycling. “Climate change, agriculture and food security” conference theme getting great interest from Kuwait, which is seriously affected by climate change, especially fisheries, due to the high temperature of our regional waters and environmental pollution, he said.

Despite the progress made in the food and agricultural sectors, the sector still need modern technical support from FAO and member countries with expertise, especially in the development of Kuwait water and fisheries resources and water treatment for agricultural and human purposes,” he said.

The Kuwaiti delegation, headed by Minister Jabri, will participate in the Ministerial Conference on scarcity of water in the near East and North Africa region, in the presence of Ambassador Sheikh Ali Al-Khalid Al-Sabah, the General Director of the General Authority for Agriculture and Fisheries Affairs Faisal Al-Hasawi, and Permanent Representative to FAO Yousef Juhail.

Global commitment
The 40th Session of the FAO Conference on Monday called for the activation of global commitments to eradicating hunger, one of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). In an inaugural speech, Italy’s Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni said that reaching “zero hunger” determined by the international community as a new ambitious goal for the 2030 agenda of the sustainable development is considered a main condition for equality and justice.

He called for “renewed and extraordinary efforts” particularly pointing to the influx of migrants into the European Union (EU) country’s shores. Gentiloni affirmed that peace is also a goal and a condition to achieve the 17 SDGs to eradicate hunger in the world as there is a close relationship between conflicts and the growing malnutrition across the globe.

He stated that conflict has caused 10 food crises out of 13 in different regions. He emphasized Italy’s support for FAO’s efforts alongside the World Food Program (WFP) and the Rome-based International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), appealing to the rest of Europe to share Italy’s burdens because of mass immigration. In a letter by Pope Francis read by Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Pope said he was following international activity and wanted to cooperate to direct it towards a real eradication of hunger and malnutrition, not just simple development or theoretical goals. The Pope stressed the importance of recognition that all people have the right to get enough food.

Pope Francis told FAO conference that the international community should acknowledge hunger and malnutrition are not “natural or structural phenomena.” He said “we are dealing with a complex mechanism that mainly burdens the most vulnerable, who are not only excluded from the processes of production, but frequently obliged to leave their lands in search of refuge and hope.” He noted that wars, acts of terrorism and forced displacement are not the result of determinism.

Peace is key
Meanwhile, FAO’s Director-General Jose Graziano da Silva said “I wish I could announce here today some good news regarding the global fight against hunger but, unfortunately, it is not the case. “To save lives, we have to save their livelihoods. We cannot save people and put them in camps,” he added.

He pointed out that “peace is of course the key to ending these crises. But we cannot wait for peace to take action. There is much we can do to fight hunger during conflicts and protracted crises.” He said that FAO has identified 19 countries facing severe food crises due to a combination of conflict and climate change including South Sudan, Northeast Nigeria, Somalia, and Yemen where nearly 20 million are affected.

He added this year’s setback in the fight against hunger hardly came as a surprise, with almost 20 million people facing starvation because of fighting and drought in South Sudan, Nigeria, Somalia and Yemen. He said strong political commitments to eradicating hunger are essential but not sufficient, adding that hunger could only be defeated if states fulfill their commitments on both national and local levels.

He specified FAO’s top priorities for the next two years in promoting sustainable agriculture, reducing the impacts of climate change, keeping pace with these changes, reducing poverty, addressing water scarcity and migration and supporting rural livelihoods affected by conflict as well as and working constantly on food and fisheries. The event, which is held every two years, runs until July 8. Up to 1100 representatives from member states are taking part in the conference. – KUNA