Story at a glance

  • “Poverty, income inequality and the high cost of food continue to keep healthy diets out of the reach of some 3 billion people," Guterres said.
  • ”Climate change and conflict are both consequences and drivers of this catastrophe.”
  • The U.N. reported earlier in July the number of people facing hunger rose by around 161 million in 2020.

Climate change and conflict are “both drivers and consequences” of poverty, United Nations (U.N.) Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said Monday. 

Guterres said at a meeting in Rome that a third of all greenhouse gas emissions are created by the world’s food system, which simultaneously accounts for roughly 80 percent of the loss in biodiversity, The Associated Press (AP) reported. The U.N. reported earlier in July the number of people facing hunger rose by around 161 million. 

“Poverty, income inequality and the high cost of food continue to keep healthy diets out of the reach of some 3 billion people,″ Guterres said. ”Climate change and conflict are both consequences and drivers of this catastrophe.”

The Pre-Summit of the U.N. Food Systems Summit is being held in Rome from July 26 to 28.

“Transforming our food systems is a prerequisite to tackle these problems and get the world on track to achieve the #GlobalGoals,” Guterres posted on Twitter


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The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) challenged leaders to address and “radically change” the system’s failures that leave many millions without food, according to the AP. The IFAD added that the solutions should protect “the environment and biodiversity, and where people who produce our food are paid decently for their labor.”

Meanwhile, the U.N. World Food Program (WFP) warned in June that nearly 41 million people — up from 27 million in 2019 — across 43 countries were on the verge of famine.

“I am heartbroken at what we’re facing in 2021. We now have four countries where famine-like conditions are present,” WFP Executive Director David Beasley said in a statement at the time. 

“If you look at the numbers, it’s just tragic - these are real people with real names. I am extremely concerned.”


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U.N. Deputy-Secretary-General Amina Mohammed acknowledged on Monday the international conversation regarding how food systems should look by 2030. But she argued that there is no “one size that fits all” solution. 

“We must work country by country, region by region, community by community, to ensure the diversity of needs are addressed to support each reality,” Mohammed said. “The same applies for our food systems and the changes that are required so that we feed the world, without starving the planet of its future.”


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Published on Jul 26, 2021