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Speakers at the World Food Day Ceremony held at the headquarters of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the UN focused on the inter linkages between three sustainable development goals (SDGs): ending poverty in all forms everywhere (SDG 1); ending hunger, achieving food security and improved nutrition and promoting sustainable agriculture (SDG 2) and taking urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts (SDG 13).

The speakers stressed that climate change impacts threaten food security and particularly affect poor and vulnerable communities and must be addressed through a holistic approach.

14 October 2016: Held under the theme, ‘Climate is changing, food and agriculture must too,’ World Food Day 2016 focused on the need for countries to address food and agriculture in their climate action plans and take action to strengthen the resilience of smallholder farmers to guarantee food security.

Speakers at ceremony held at the headquarters of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO) focused on the links between three Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs): ending poverty in all forms everywhere (SDG 1); ending hunger, achieving food security and improved nutrition and promoting sustainable agriculture (SDG 2); and taking urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts (SDG 13). They stressed that climate change threatens food security and particularly affects poor and vulnerable communities, and that it must be addressed through a holistic approach.

Speaking on the Day, FAO Director General José Graziano said extreme and erratic weather undermines soil health and can lead to outbreaks of diseases and pests, which disproportionately hurt the rural poor, noting that mitigation of and adaptation to climate change require improved access to appropriate technologies, markets, information and investments.

Italian Prime Minster Matteo Renzi urged the international community to address inequality and injustice, and stressed the need for more collaboration in reducing food waste.

In a written message, Pope Francis drew attention to climate refugees and cautioned against the belief that agricultural production and resilience can be improved with technology alone. He noted the need to include traditional knowledge and the wisdom of communities in the search for solutions. The UN Special Envoy on El Niño and Climate, Macharia Kamau, called for stronger solidarity and improved partnerships in addressing hunger and ensuring that climate change does not threaten food security.

In a special message, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon urged governments and their partners to “take a holistic, collaborative and integrated approach to climate change, food security and equitable social and economic development,” underscoring that without concerted action, climate change may reverse recent progress by pushing vulnerable populations back into hunger and poverty.

World Food Day 2016 coincided with the ‘Second Mayors’ Summit’ focused on the Milan Urban Food Policy Pact and held on 14 October 2016. Participating Mayors discussed their collaborative efforts and shared experiences and best practices in developing sustainable food systems. The meeting was preceded by a technical workshop on 13 October 2016, during which participants assessed progress towards the commitments in the Pact, which was adopted at the World Expo 2015 in Milan, Italy.

World Food Day 2016 was also marked by events held in more than 150 countries, including sports events such as marathons and marches, cultural performances, competitions and contests. The FAO World Food Day webpage lists the events, reports and success stories released for the Day by specific countries.

World Food Day is held on 16 October every year to commemorate the founding of FAO on 16 October 1945 in the city of Quebec, Canada. [FAO World Food Day Webpage][FAO News Release: World Food Day Event][FAO News Release: Meeting of Mayors][Milan Urban Food Policy Pact][UN News Release][Message by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon]


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