More and better must be done to tackle food insecurity: Ambassador Talbot

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George Wilfred Talbot

Calling strongly for concrete policy actions and targeted investments to enhance food security and scale up nutrition, top officials from the Economic and Social Council and the General Assembly's Economic and Financial Committee stressed that "hope, focus, pragmatism and determination" — bolstered by deeper cooperation — were crucial to ending hunger, a global challenge that was "eminently solvable".

Chairman of the joint session, Ambassador George Wilfred Talbot of Guyana, sought to build on momentum generated by last June's United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development. During that historic Summit, known as Rio+20, world leaders had pledged to boost output from sustainable agriculture, as well as farming productivity, an effort that would entail creating a freer, more equitable trading system.

Mr. Talbot said "more and better must be done" to tackle food insecurity, a problem he described as "eminently solvable". He said governments, the United Nations system, civil society and the private sector all had important roles to play in strengthening agriculture and tackling malnutrition, warning that dithering "could prove deadly".

He said the twofold mission to establish a more secure future required addressing volatile food prices and making structural policy changes in production, consumption and trade. Pointing to "glimmers of hope" seen in recent trends, such as rising agricultural investment in Africa and the strengthening of safety nets across the developing world, Mr. Talbot said they were vital to the fulfillment of the Rio+20 pledge of a "future free from hunger".

The Guyanese ambassador said that dialogue between the Economic and Social Council and the wider public through a social media campaign, had been instructive, revealing "a public thoroughly invested in the United Nations and its commitment to a global response to our shared problems". That raised hopes, but also expectations, he said, adding that the international community must now identify the root causes of food insecurity, and draw upon best practices from around the world to offer practical, empirically grounded solutions, while encouraging stakeholders to work even more closely together, in building support for action, especially on the Rio+20 commitments.

This is Donn Bobb reporting.

Duration: 2’05″

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