The Jordan Times
Bahaa Al Deen Al Nawas
AMMAN — The problem of hunger is becoming more serious, demanding an intensification of actions to address it, said HRH Princess Basma on Wednesday
More than 800 million people still suffer from hunger worldwide. In Jordan, about 8 per cent of young children are underweight,she added.
The princess made her remarks during the World Food Day 2019 celebration event. Held under Princess Basma′s Patronage, the event this year marks the 74th anniversary of the founding of the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO).
The event was organised by the FAO in cooperation with the World Food Programme (WFP) under the title: “Our Actions Are Our Future: Healthy Diets for a
ZEROHUNGER World at Al Hussein Cultural Centre in Amman.
The average global lifespan is currently over 70 years, and reasons for this include vaccines, economic growth in developing countries, improved sanitation and access to food, the princess said in her opening speech.
Intensive farming methods and climate change are threatening biodiversity, lowering food yields and exacerbating water scarcity, Princess Basma said.
She added: Whoever is giving this speech in 74 years could be speaking about a world that looks very different, possibly much more difficult and dangerous, than we are in now. If we are to nurture our people, we must first nurture our planet.
The princess concluded by urging everyone to face the challenges of hunger, climate change and obesity, noting the importance of ending all forms of malnutrition by 2030 through real political commitment, bold action and the right investments and coalitions.
At the event, Minister of Agriculture Ibrahim Shahahdeh delivered a speech in which he explained the ministry′s efforts to combat hunger, including the national food protection programme, which has helped lower the prices of local products, with the assistance of local farmers and workers.
Shahahdeh also highlighted the efforts of charity organisations, some of which took part in the food exhibition that Princess Basma inaugurated after the opening ceremony, spreading an array of healthy food samples that included honey, olives, jam and fresh juices.
He added that the ministry cooperates with the FAO to work on projects that directly impact farmers to improve their work and produce.
FAO Representative ad Interim Alexis Bonte said at the event: There are different forms of malnourishment; hunger and obesity are at opposite ends of the nourishment spectrum.
Bonte added that although 800 million people in the world suffer from hunger, the same number suffers from obesity globally.
Malnourishment costs the health sector over $2 trillion per year, Bonte said, adding that pollution from unhealthy food could cause more than 50 per cent of environment dilapidation, including rapid loss of biodiversity.
The hunger index in Jordan is relatively low, which Bonte said is an impressive achievement in light of challenges that include the scarcity of water.
For her part, WFP Country Director and Representative Sarah Gordon Gibson said that while over 800 billion people are hungry, there are also two billion people who do not have access to safe, nutritious food.
She added: Obesity is on the rise, contributing to four million deaths globally, while 40 million children under five are underweight and 149 million children are stunted.
Gibson said that as long as these figures remain as they are, it will be difficult to achieve the second Sustainable Development Goal to end hunger and ensure all people have access to nutritious food year-round.
Different sectors, including agriculture, health, education and other related sectors need to work together to make healthy and sustainable diets affordable and accessible for everyone, she said.