كلمة المُنسق المقيم للأمم المتحدة في احتفالية يوم الغذاء العالمي 2020
١٨ أكتوبر ٢٠٢٠
الأمم المتحدة في مصر جعلت إتاحة الغذاء لجميع الناس أولوية في خطتنا للاستجابة والتعافي من جائحة كوفيد-19.
Venue: the Ministry’s Foreign Agriculture Relations premises
H.E. Mr. Sayed El-Qaseer, the Minister of Agriculture and Land Reclamation;
Excellencies - representatives of the development partners in Egypt;
Colleagues from the United Nations Family in Egypt, the Representatives of the FAO, WFP and IFAD;
I would like to thank the Ministry of Agriculture for hosting this event today and for convening us to celebrate the World Food Day 2020 under the theme of “Grow, Nourish, Sustain. Together: Our actions are our future”
To achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), we are all work on ending all forms of poverty everywhere, ending hunger, achieving food security, improving nutrition and promoting sustainable agriculture. Clearly, the promise of the SDGs to Leave No One Behind, can only be met if we realize the right to food for everyone.
The right to food is one of the most basic and fundamental human rights. Together with water, food is a a precondition for our existence. Dr. Heba – my Amiyya teacher in Egypt, took care to explain to me that Eish (bread) and life are the same word!
The right to food is recognized in all international and national declarations. The 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the 1966 International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights affirmed the right of everyone to have access to safe and nutritious food and to be free from hunger. The Egyptian constitution explicitly guarantees the right to adequate food. In Article 79, it states “Each citizen has the right to healthy and sufficient food and clean water. “
In one of the key human rights monitoring mechanisms, the Universal Periodic Review (UPR), we are also reminded of the right to food. When Egypt completed its third review cycle earlier this year, it accepted the two recommendations that relate to the right to food, ‘to increase food security and guarantee the right to food for all citizens.’
We are speaking about the right of food for everyone during one of the worst pandemics we have seen this century – COVID is not solely a health issue as we now know and it has effected societies and economies in an unprecedented fashion. Poverty, food and nutrition were highly affected by COVID-19 and many people are struggling to make ends meet – to get to the end off each day without being overwhelmed.
Hunger is rising! poverty is rising! Much of the progress over the last 10 years on SDG1 and 2 seems to have evaporated globally. It was estimated that prior to the COVID-19 pandemic around 690 million people worldwide were undernourished and now COVID-19 may increase this with around 130 million people - at risk being pushed to the brink of starvation by the end of this year - and more than 3 billion people cannot afford a healthy diet.
Ladies and gentlemen,
The Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to the World Food Programme this year, "for its efforts to combat hunger, for its contribution to bettering conditions for peace in conflict-affected areas and for acting as a driving force in efforts to prevent the use of hunger as a weapon of war and conflict”. This not only validates the work of the brave and courageous WFP staff that work across the globe, but draws the attentions of the world community that the food and hunger crisis that seems to be unfolding right under our noses. It raises the question if collective we are doing enough.
In this regard, the United Nations hand in hand with the Government of Egypt – who have been working together for 75 years now–prioritized the access of food to everyone in our response and recovery plans from the COVID pandemic.
FAO, IFAD, WFP, UNICEF, WHO and all UN agencies in Egypt collectively work on intensifying the efforts that everyone has access to safe nutrition. We work together with the Government, development partners, private sector and all development stakeholders to address existing problems of food security, obesity and malnutrition due to hunger.
I am very pleased to see that “the sustainable agricultural development plan” was cleared by the Government of Egypt and I am looking forward for the clearance of the “national nutrition strategy” that will accelerate our work in ending hunger in Egypt – collective we need these tools to get to the next level.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Every Egyptian family takes pride in its own doing national Egyptian recipes providing us with the delicious Egyptian gifts to the world; Fuul, Tameya, Koshary. Amazing!
Celebrating Egyptian occasions are always accompanied with traditional food such as Sham El-Nessim which keeps heritage and sustain food industries.
The holy month of Ramadan gives us all lessons about sharing food throughout the whole month among families, relatives and people in need.
Bread is life and food and water are for many countries an important part of identity, culture and religion. COVID has recently alerted us again to the vulnerability of our food value chains, when food could not reach markets, and the importance of farmers to continue to produce food for everyone.
In many places across the world, food availability is not the issue, but the capacity to buy enough and nutritious food for the family is. That could be the cruelest fate of all; to starve in societies of plenty.
In as much as we are worried about the global picture and the capacity for multilateral action to address the concerns, there is very much good news – today, right here in Egypt; our young people, that digitally enabled innovative new generation that is coming to the table. Many young Egyptians are leading many initiatives that provide smart solutions for food production, posts harvest technologies, logistic and value chains and for healthy diets. The stories that will be shared today from young women and men who encourage people to follow healthy diet systems, reduce food waste and promote greener initiatives for the future of our planet are creative and inspirational!