By Cecilia Ologunagba
New York, July 13, 2021
Ms Amina Mohammed, UN Deputy Secretary-General and Chair of the UN Sustainable Development Group, has called on African leaders to commit to achieving zero hunger on the continent
The UN correspondent of the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) quoted Mohammed as making the call at the Africa Regional Food Systems Summit on Tuesday, at the UN headquarters in New York.
She tasked African countries to come together at the Dialogue, to meet the target, saying, “we need African leadership to realise our vision and meet the goal of zero hunger by 2030.
“I look forward to an outcome that puts us on track to delivering a more sustainable and resilient food future for all Africa’s people,’’ she said.
She stated that the aim of the Dialogue was to help the continent to think through how to strengthen national pathways for food systems transformation so as to achieve the 2030 Agenda.
“This should be one of the main outcomes of the Food Systems Summit.
“In addition to your national progress, this Dialogue can help bring a unified African voice to the upcoming Pre-Summit in Rome at the end of July and to the Summit in September in New York.
“In Rome, the outcomes of regional Dialogues around the world will converge with the other work streams of the Summit process.
“These strands are generating ideas for enhanced global cooperation in support of country and regional priorities.’’
By the time of the Summit in New York, she said, we would be able to show how countries and regions around the world had articulated their own pathways to 2030, joined by a range of partners to accompany them on their journey.
Mohammed said science had confirmed that transforming food systems offered an opportunity to drive progress across the board, from climate action to reducing pollution, noting that this was the rationale of the Food Systems Summit.
She said over 140 Member States had responded to her invitation to convene the national Food Systems Summit Dialogues.
“The majority of the African continent is participating: 44 countries, over 80 per cent of all African governments, are leading national dialogues.
“Governments everywhere recognise the importance of this issue, particularly at a time of crisis. But there is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ solution.
“Food systems vary by location; our approaches must be rooted in local and regional realities,’’ the UN deputy scribe said.
In addition, she said, like the power or transport sectors, food systems could and must contribute to the green and blue transitions.
“This means, for example, being less dependent on fossil fuels based fertilisers and more attuned to nature-based solutions such as natural soil regeneration.
“Solutions exist and they can be deployed at scale, to fight in the same stroke climate change, hunger and malnutrition, while preserving our planet.
“Through the 2030 Agenda, the world has agreed on a bold vision for the future and through Agenda 2063, Africa has articulated its master plan for transforming itself into the global powerhouse of the future.
“Our task now is keeping our promises by delivering on the commitments we have made, through accelerated action,’’ Mohammed said.
She further said that malnutrition in all its forms remained entrenched, particularly among women and children.
“Most children under five years with malnutrition live in Africa and Asia and 37 per cent of world’s stunted children can be found in Africa. These tragic numbers are not new. Hunger was on the rise even before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. Nor do these numbers tell us the whole picture.
“While we are severely off track to achieve Sustainable Development Goal two – zero hunger – by 2030, this goal cannot be achieved in isolation.
“Ending hunger requires us to consider food as a system, revealing a range of intersecting challenges that are undermining our progress towards all the SDGs.’’