World Food Day Illuminates Migration-Hunger Links, Billion-Dollar Facility Launched
UN Photo/Gill Fickling
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This year, World Food Day convened under the theme, ‘Change the future of migration: Invest in food security and rural migration'.

Rabobank and UN Environment announced a $1 billion-dollar facility that will finance sustainable agriculture, sustainable land use and achievement of the Paris Climate Agreement and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

16 October 2017: World Food Day was celebrated this year under the theme, ‘Change the future of migration: Invest in food security and rural migration.’ Events marking the day highlighted trends and links between climate, conflict, migration and hunger, and included the launch of a billion-dollar facility supporting sustainable agriculture.

At an event in Rome, Italy, Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO) Director General José Graziano da Silva spoke about the relationship between migration, farming and rural development. He discussed some of the root causes of migration, including poverty, food insecurity, inequality, unemployment and lack of social protection. He also pointed out recent trends, noting that in 2015, “there were approximately 64 million refugees and displaced persons in the world, twice as many as 10 years previously,” and that, “there were more than 240 million international migrants in the world, 40% more than in 2000.”

UN reports, including the Committee on World Food Security (CFS) High-level Panel of Experts (HLPE) report and the ‘State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World’ have recently detailed the links between climate, conflict and rising hunger worldwide. The latter publication reports that hunger has increased in 2016, for the first time, after a decade of year-over-year decline.

“Hunger is clearly caused by wars and climate change and we need to stop talking about it as though it were an incurable disease.”

Pope Francis, also speaking at the Rome event, said, “Hunger is clearly caused by wars and climate change and we need to stop talking about it as though it were an incurable disease.” He asked if “a category of love” could be introduced into international cooperation, “meaning donating freely, equal treatment, solidarity, a culture of giving, fraternity and mercy.” The Pope pointed out that nurturing the ability to love, “is the main way of guaranteeing global human security as well as food security.”

Just prior to World Food Day, the second multi-stakeholder meeting on a global compact on migration closed in Geneva, Switzerland. This meeting served as part of the preparatory process for the intergovernmental conference on international migration, which is meant to adopt a “global compact for safe, orderly and regular migration” in the fall of 2018. The President of the UN General Assembly, Miroslav Lajčák, noted the timeliness of the theme, and in his statement on the Day, drew attention to the how food insecurity can drive migration, but how also, “food insecurity becomes a consequence of migration.”

To help tackle food insecurity and climate change, Rabobank and UN Environment announced a $1 billion facility that will finance sustainable agriculture, sustainable land use and achievement of the Paris Agreement on climate change and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The facility will provide grants, de-risking instruments and credit to clients involved in sustainable agricultural production, and will begin its work in Brazil and Indonesia. According to UN Environment, the facility will aim to reduce reducing greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture, while also boosting production. [FAO Director-General Statement] [Pope Francis Statement] [UNGA President Statement] [UN Environment Press Release] [World Food Day Website]

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