Secretary-General’s message on World Food Day

 The right to food is a human right. Yet 854 million people in the world suffer from chronic hunger, and the figure has been increasing since the beginning of the new Millennium. In a world of plenty, this situation is unacceptable.

That is why the Right to Food was chosen as the theme for this year’s World Food Day. We must make the voice of these 854 million people heard. We must work to uphold their fundamental human right. We must recognize the role of human rights in eradicating hunger and poverty, and the connection between development, human rights and security.

Enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948, the right to food has been strengthened through legislative measures at the international and national levels. At the World Food Summit and in the Millennium Declaration, political pledges were made and reaffirmed at highest level. The Food and Agriculture Organization has elaborated practical guidelines that provide coherent policy recommendations on how to bridge the gap between legal recognition and practice.

And yet, progress towards eradicating hunger is slow. We need to do far more to place the integrity and rights of every human being at the centre of all our efforts. We need to combine current efforts with stepped up measures to ensure participation and empowerment, accountability and transparency, human dignity and the rule of law.

The world has the resources, the knowledge and the tools to make the right to food a reality for all. On this World Food Day, let us join forces to make it happen.