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Statement by Human Rights Commissioner Kofler on World Food Day

16.10.2019 - Press release

Dr Bärbel Kofler, Federal Government Commissioner for Human Rights Policy and Humanitarian Aid at the Federal Foreign Office, issued the following statement today (16 October) on World Food Day:

In many parts of the world, extreme climate events, armed conflicts and negative economic developments are having an adverse effect on the population’s food situation and leading to hunger and malnutrition. The total number of people suffering hunger has risen from 785 million in 2015 to 822 million in 2019. Every night, millions of children go to bed hungry – and every day, children die from under- or malnutrition. I am very shocked and saddened by that.
Today’s World Food Day reminds us that the global community needs to do much more in order to eradicate hunger and malnutrition. The most recent Global Hunger Index shows just how serious the situation is. It rates levels of hunger as “serious” or “alarming” in 48 countries.
We must use today’s World Food Day to address in particular the threats to food security posed by climate change so that everyone in the world can meet their basic need for sufficient food.

Background information:

The 2019 Global Hunger Index focuses on climate change, which is already having a stark impact on humankind’s food situation all over the world. Existing risks are being exacerbated by climate change, leading to direct negative consequences for global food security.

Germany has been working for many years with its partners at the national and international level to fight hunger. Food assistance is one of the priorities of Germany’s humanitarian aid efforts. In 2018, the Federal Foreign Office provided some 570 million euros to projects that address hunger and malnutrition around the world. Since 2016, Germany has been the second-largest bilateral donor to the World Food Programme (WFP). Furthermore, Germany is helping to develop instruments that make it possible to provide humanitarian assistance at the earliest possible stage before extreme weather events adversely affect food availability, access and quality.

Since 1979, the United Nations has used every 16 October to remind the world how many millions of people around the globe suffer from hunger and malnutrition. This date was chosen because it was on this day in 1945 that the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) was established. One of its core tasks, as a specialised agency of the United Nations, is to foster food security.

Despite advances in the fight against hunger during the past decades, United Nations figures indicate that nearly 822 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.

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