The World Food Day is observed every year on October 16th. The day is dedicated to create awareness about the importance of healthy diet, and highlight the challenges faced by millions of people across the globe due to lack of access to healthy food. The main purpose behind celebrating the food day on a global level is to promote policies and programmes for eliminating hunger to ensure that the upcoming generations do not face food-related issues and malnutrition.
World Food Day is celebrated every year in almost 150 countries. Different activities like events, seminars, workshops, hunger marches, and food marathons are held globally to educate people about the importance of nutritious food for overall health and well-being. World Food Day offers an opportunity to achieve Sustainable Development Goal 2 (SDG 2), which is ‘Zero Hunger’. The day encourages governments, policy makers, stakeholders, and other organisations to establish policies and programmes against global hunger issues. It is a reminder to foster sustainable agriculture so that everyone has access to safe, sufficient, and nutritious food. The theme of World Food Day 2023 is “Water is Life, Water is Food. Leave No One Behind”. This theme was chosen to highlight the importance of water in our lives. Water is a precious resource that not only helps in producing food, but also supports livelihoods, as 50 per cent of human bodies is composed of water.
The World Food Day was established by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) in 1979 to commemorate its establishment in 1945. Its main agenda is to overcome food-related challenges faced by millions of people worldwide. One of the aspects of World Food Day is to foster a culture of healthy and hygienic food to prevent different types of food borne illnesses. While speaking on this year’s World Food Day, the UN Secretary-General, António Guterres said, “World Food Day 2023 comes during a global food crisis, with the world moving backwards on ending hunger and malnutrition. Some 780 million people around the world are going hungry; almost 50 million children are at risk of death from severe wasting. Yet funding for this year’s global humanitarian appeal stands at just 32 per cent.
“In our world of plenty, it is outrageous that a person dies of hunger every few seconds, while the World Food Programme has been forced to cut its essential aid programmes. In 2015, after years of progress, governments set the goal of zero hunger by 2030. But eight years later, the number of people suffering from hunger has increased significantly. This crisis demands action – first and foremost from national governments, which have a responsibility to make sure their people have enough to eat, but many governments lack the resources to do so, and so effective international solidarity is also essential. The long-term causes of the global food crisis include conflicts, climate extremes, inequality, and economic instability.
“The UN system is addressing these root causes through our support for sustainable, equitable food systems that put people over profits. That means massively scaling up investments in resilient agriculture, and aligning them with climate action. It means leveraging science and technology to improve the efficiency and reach of food systems. This year’s theme for World Food Day focuses on water – a necessity for nutritious and healthy food. The sustainable management of water for agriculture and food production is essential to end hunger, achieve the SDGs, and preserve water for future generations. Zero hunger is achievable. This World Food Day, I call on governments, the private sector, civil society and academia to work together; to prioritise feeding the hungry; to bring ending this crisis to the top of the global agenda; and to invest in long-term solutions that provide everyone with enough to eat”, he added.