Bärbel Kofler, Federal Government Commissioner for Human Rights Policy and Humanitarian Aid at the Federal Foreign Office, issued the following statement to mark World Food Day on 16 October 2017:
In an ideal world, hunger should have been ended years ago. Unfortunately, the reality is quite different. The current report of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) shows that hunger is a very topical issue. Some 815 million people around the world are affected by hunger – this is equivalent to roughly ten times the population of Germany. Every day, thousands die from the effects of hunger, especially young children. It is a sad reality, one that should spur us to decisive action. I therefore call on not only the Federal Government, but also the international community, to take effective measures towards fighting global hunger.
Today, on World Food Day, we all must ask ourselves, “How can we ensure that no one will go hungry? How can we ensure that all people, especially the world’s children, are well fed? What can we do to help end world hunger?”
Early this year, severe famine and food crises in South Sudan, Somalia, north-eastern Nigeria and Yemen made dramatic headlines. 20 million lives were reported to be at grave risk. This prompted UN Secretary-General Guterres to call on all UN Member States to take urgent action. I want to say that I fully support the Secretary-General’s appeal. The Global Hunger Index illustrates the critical need for help (http://www.globalhungerindex.org): The situation in 51 countries is “serious” or “alarming”. In one country, it is even “extremely alarming”.
That is why Germany has for many years been part of the worldwide fight to end hunger. Humanitarian food assistance is one of the focuses of Germany’s humanitarian aid efforts. In 2016, the Federal Foreign Office provided some 553 million euros to projects that address hunger and malnutrition. So far in 2017, this figure already amounts to 633 million euros.
Together with our national and international partners, we are engaged in the fight against hunger. Because food security means much more than simply putting enough food on people’s plates. Chronic undernourishment and malnutrition have a long-range impact not only on the health of those who are affected, but also on the development of an entire society.
Every person should be well fed. Today, on World Food Day, we are reminded of this.
World Food Day is observed on 16 October of every year. Since 1979, the United Nations has used this day to remind the world that millions of people around the globe suffer from hunger. 16 October was chosen because it was on this day in 1945 that the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) was established. Its mission, as a specialised agency of the United Nations, includes ensuring food security.
Despite significant advances in the fight against hunger, United Nations figures indicate that nearly 815 million people worldwide still suffer from malnutrition. Every day, thousands of people die from the effects of chronic malnutrition. More than half of these are children under the age of five.