By Lerato Ndlovu
United Nations Secretary General, Antonio Guterres has urged countries to implement Sustainable Development Goals that relate to reducing food waste and loss so as to meet the climate plans under the Paris agreement.
In a statement read on the International Day of awareness on food loss and waste, Guterres stated that food loss and waste is an ethical outrage when others cannot afford a balanced healthy diet.
“Food loss and waste is an ethical outrage. In a world with enough food to feed all people, everywhere, 690 million people continue to go hungry and 3 billion cannot afford a healthy diet.
“Food loss and waste also squanders natural resources – water, soil and energy, not to mention human labor and time. It worsens climate change, given the significant role of agriculture in generating greenhouse gas emissions,” he said.
He went on to state that the pandemic has underlined the fragility of our food systems, and worsened food loss and waste in many countries hence resulting in the need for new approaches and solutions as preparations for the 2021 Food Systems Summit are underway.
“International concern is reflected in Sustainable Development Goal 2, which enshrines a commitment to achieving zero hunger, and in SDG 12, which calls on us to halve food waste and reduce food loss by 2030. While many countries are taking action, we need to step up efforts.
“I urge countries to set a reduction target aligned with SDG 12, measure their food loss and waste and act boldly to reduce it. Policy action in this area should also be included in climate plans under the Paris Agreement.
“Many businesses should take a similar approach. Individuals can shop carefully, store food correctly and make good use of leftovers. Let us work together to reduce food loss and waste for the benefit of people and our planet,” he said.
In regards to the hunger situation worldwide during this lockdown as part of the Global Humanitarian Response Plan (GHRP), the World Food Programme is also providing emergency assistance to ease the impact of lockdowns and movement restrictions on vulnerable groups, including institutional feeding programmes for people in quarantine, leveraging and adapting livelihood programmes to enable the COVID-19 response.
To date, over 23,500 people have been transported from 367 organizations to 67 destinations. Over 56,000 m3 of critical cargo has been moved to 157 countries around the globe to feed the people .