2018 World Food Day celebration, Keynote Address by Ken Shimizu, Head of Office, FAO Papua New Guinea, Sir John Guise Stadium, Port Moresby, October 16:
On behalf of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), I would like to thank and congratulate the Department of Agriculture and Livestock and other partner organizations for collaborating with us for the organization of today’s event. It is truly encouraging to see all the exhibitions and stalls set up by various actors in the agricultural sector, and I thank you all for your active participation and support.
This year, 2018, marks the 73nd anniversary of the founding of FAO, and the 38th anniversary of the observance of World Food Day. WFD events promote worldwide awareness and action for those who suffer from hunger and for the need to achieve Zero Hunger, ensuring food security and nutritious diets for all. Events are organized in over 130 countries across the world, making it one of the most celebrated days of the UN calendar. This year’s theme is “Our Actions are Our Future: A #Zero Hunger World by 2030 is Possible”.
Unfortunately, according to the latest FAO Global Report on Food Security and Nutrition, it is apparent that we need to work harder to achieve the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals on Zero Hunger. World Hunger is on the rise again. The world produces enough food to feed everyone, yet, about 821 million people suffer from hunger. That is one in nine people.
Globally, hunger kills more people every year than malaria, tuberculosis and aids combined. Around 45 percent of infant deaths are related to malnutrition. Stunting still affects 155 million children under the age of five years.
About 70 percent of the world’s extreme poor live in rural areas, and most of them depend on agriculture. Roughly 60 percent of the world’s hungry are women.
Climate change is also worsening hunger. For example, in developing countries, up to 83% of the overall economic impact of drought, which climate change is expected to intensify, falls on agriculture.
On the other hand, while many people are suffering from chronic hunger and malnutrition, a third of the food produced worldwide is lost or wasted. Obesity and overweight are also increasing globally.
Many of these challenges at the global level are common in PNG as well. As you are all aware, in PNG, the majority of the people lives in rural areas and are engaged in subsistence agriculture. Nearly 90 per cent of women in PNG are engaged in agriculture, fisheries and forestry, and produce most of the nation’s food. Papua New Guineans also suffer from malnutrition, stunting, and sometimes premature deaths due to poor quality diet, insufficient nutrient intake and unsafe food and water. Papua New Guinea is also vulnerable to the impacts of climate change and natural disasters, as observed in the El Nino induced drought a couple years ago and the Earthquake which hit the Highlands region this year.
So what is FAO doing at the global level to address these challenges?
FAO is working with governments, UN agencies, the private sector, civil society and local communities, to ensure that people have access to enough high-quality food to lead active and healthy lives. We are working with stakeholders to create increased opportunities for greater private sector investments in agriculture, while boosting social protection programmes for the vulnerable and linking food producers with urban areas.
We are encouraging smallholder farmers to adopt new, sustainable agricultural methods to increase productivity and income, while ensuring the resilience of rural communities through an approach that that leverages the power of technological innovation and creates stable and rewarding employment opportunities.
We collect, analyses and disseminate data that aids development and works with countries both to devise and implement policies that take into account the multifaceted elements of Zero Hunger.
In PNG, the FAO country office has been collaborating with various institutions to fulfil our core mandate of Zero Hunger. We work across the renewable resources sector, and we work with a wide variety of stakeholders in the fields of agriculture, forestry, fisheries, environmental conservation and rural development.
In agriculture, we have been providing policy support to the Department of Agriculture and Livestock (DAL) in the formulation and implementation of PNG’s National Food Security Policy and Action Plan, as well as the development and the implementation of a National E-Agriculture Strategy for PNG. We are also supporting DAL in conducting a country gender assessment for the agricultural sector and also supporting the food security cluster, as a forum to coordinate emergency preparedness and response activities in the agricultural sector. We are also committed to supporting DAL in formulating the new Strategic Development Plan for the sector and also supporting the CIC with the development of its new Strategic and Business Plan.
In the areas of fisheries, we have provided technical advice to the National Fisheries Authority to strengthen their legislative and governance framework to address illegal fishing, and to facilitate PNG’s accession to international agreements such as the Port States Measures Agreement.
In the forestry and climate change sector, FAO has supported the establishment of the National Forest Monitoring System (NFMS) through the UN-REDD National Programme and the country’s first ever EU funded National Forest Inventory Project. We are supporting CCDA and relevant technical agencies in the AFOLU sector to strengthen their capacities to meet PNG’s reporting requirements under the UNFCCC, and we also supporting PNGFA in initiating discussions on the establishment of a timber legality system.
In the area of environmental conservation, in partnership with the WCS and financial support from the European Union, we will commence the implementation of country level activities under a global project on Sustainable Wildlife Management.
So in short, we are trying to do our part. Considering that the country office was just opened less than five years ago, I think we haven’t done that bad. And in celebrating the founding of FAO, I would like to take this opportunity to express our sincere appreciation to the Honorable Minister, Secretary and everyone at DAL for hosting FAO and collaborating with us on a number of key initiatives. We are honored to have such a close and valuable partnership with you. I would also like to thank other agricultural agencies, NFA, PNGFA, CEPA, and countless other partner organizations, donors, and individuals that have supported the programmes and operations of the FAO country office in PNG.
At the same time, we have only just begun. As many of you are aware, we are looking to further strengthen our country presence and programme in PNG and to strengthen our partnership and collaboration with all of you here today. So please join us and let us work together in making sure that we end hunger and malnutrition in PNG and that we achieve the SDGs.
Lastly, I would like to thank again, DAL and other partners for your support in organizing this event, and for allowing me to speak at this event. I would also like to acknowledge that there are WFD celebrations taking place in other locations and provinces, and while I could not join physically be there, I am there with you in spirit.
Thank you very much to all of you.
Head of Office, FAO Papua New Guinea