Statement on World Food Day 2016
Every 16th of October, in Europe and across the globe we celebrate World Food Day. On World Food Day we also pay tribute to those who lost their lives or livelihoods fighting against hunger and malnutrition and to salute those who are at the forefront of working day-by-day with farmers and cooperatives in their struggle to produce enough food to feed their families.
Caritas organisations work in many countries around the world with farmers, cooperatives and other stakeholders in the supply chain to promote sustainable production and marketing ensuring decent incomes and livelihoods, empowerment of women, enhancing the production of and access to food and thus help reducing food insecurity.
On World Food Day, Caritas Europa joins national and international institutions, civil society organisations, churches and all people of good will in calling for urgent and long term solutions to the nearly 800 million people who still go hungry in the world every day. According to the FAO, one in nine people in the world are suffering from chronic undernourishment and almost all the hungry people live in developing countries.
Last year, world leaders unanimously adopted the 2030 Agenda of new Sustainable Development Goals. The second goal commits all nations to end hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition, and promote sustainable agriculture by 2030. This unanimously agreed agenda will need to lead to renewed efforts to meet these important objectives, ensuring that no one is left behind. Hunger and poverty are among the key drivers of forced migration and displacement, which has seen a record number of 65 million people on the move last year.
Caritas has since long asked for adequate EU and national policies based on the right to food as a fundamental human right – again highlighted in its “One Human Family, Food for All” campaign. Today, Caritas again calls for the EU and its member states to increase its official development assistance and focus this aid on promoting sustainable agricultural development, especially of small-scale agriculture and family farming. In addition, we call for increased support for fairness in agricultural value chains, allowing farmers to access the local markets and earn a dignified income.
Development aid is however not enough. Caritas renews its call for the full implementation of the EU Treaty obligation of policy coherence for sustainable development, ensuring that European trade, agriculture, energy and industrial policies are consistent with stated objectives of EU development policy aimed at tackling hunger, inequality and poverty overseas. This also relates to urgently needed European efforts aimed at curbing climate change, whose impact in the developing world is becoming catastrophic. Lack of or erratic rainfall has wasted tireless efforts to produce enough food for survival, or cash crops to earn a decent income to pay for school fees or to cover essential health care needs.