|Samantha Chivers, Global Health Campaign Manager RESULTS Australia, on World Food Day|
Hunger remains a persistent problem in the world. Around seven million children around the world die before their fifth birthday every year, mainly from preventable and treatable diseases such as diarrhoea, pneumonia and malaria. Shockingly, around half of these deaths are directly linked to undernutrition. While around one in four children are too short for their age worldwide, this rises to one in two in some countries in our region, such as East Timor, India and Cambodia.
On October 16th the United Nations hosted World Food Day, whose theme was Sustainable Food Systems for Food Security and Nutrition. Food security – or all people at all times having access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food – is an increasingly important issue for Australia, and for the Asia – Pacific region. Engaging with food systems to make them more equitable and diverse is especially important at this point in time. Worldwide, more than one billion people are undernourished, and the world will need to produce 50 percent more food by 2050 to feed a projected population of 9 billion people.
In honour of World Food Day, I represented RESULTS Australia at the FAO World Food Day event hosted by the Sydney Food Fairness Alliance. Speaking at the event was Ronnie Kahn, founder of OzHarvest, nutritionist Rosemary Stanton OAM, and gardener Costa Georgiadis, in addition to a multitude of community organisations profiling their work in their own communities. Being relatively new to RESULTS it was inspiring to see members of the community come together to work on food security and nutrition in their local area, and especially to involve those who may be left out of traditional systems, such as new migrants and adolescents out of school. It also reminded me that connection with your community, be it local, regional, or global, be it based on geography, shared values or ideals, is the only way to make a sustainable difference. A small community of like-minded individuals can have a huge impact, through actions and through advocacy.
RESULTS Australia is working to build a network of the organisations working in the nutrition and food security fields. We are encouraging the Department of Foreign Affairs to pick up where the late AusAID left off, and continue to develop their first strategy dealing with child undernutrition in a holistic manner. To quote Senator Brett Mason, the new Parliamentary Secretary for Foreign Affairs “Australia is helping to fight hunger, improve nutrition and increase food production by working with communities to make farmland more productive, create better markets, and improve the health of mothers and babies”. Nutrition is an issue that is a forgotten priority in our aid program. One in eight people around the world suffer from chronic hunger, and this will only increase unless we act.
Samantha Chivers, Global Health Campaign Manager, RESULTS Australia
With thanks to the Sydney Food Fairness Alliance and the Macarthur Future Food Forum for hosting RESULTS Australia.