World Food Day: FAO warns on the devastating effects of COVID-19 on the most vulnerable populations

  • Tehran – World Food Day 2020 marks the 75th anniversary of FAO in an exceptional moment as countries around the world deal with the widespread effects of the global COVID-19 pandemic. It’s a time to look into the future we need to build together.

In this regard, FAO calls on all involved stakeholders across the world to link arms to urgently address the nutritional and livelihoods gaps that have engulfed the most vulnerable groups of populations amid COVID-19 pandemic, on the occasion of the World Food Day.

Recent estimates released by the Organization indicate that the COVID-19 pandemic and its collateral economic consequences may add between 83 to 132 million individuals to the total number of undernourished people in the world in 2020; the nutritional status of the most vulnerable population groups is likely to further deteriorate due to the health and socio-economic impacts of COVID-19.

Given these circumstances, FAO urges authorities all around the globe to prioritise the needs of the poorest and most vulnerable households by expanding and improving emergency food assistance and social protection programmes, including cash transfers, the establishment of safe conditions and decent incomes that support the livelihoods of smallholder farmers and food chain workers.

The COVID-19 response is an opportunity to build back better by making food systems more resilient to shocks and more sustainable through agricultural practices that work with nature.

Promoting climate-smart and environmentally friendly agricultural practices, such as agro-ecology, that preserve the Earth’s natural resources, our health, and the climate can also slow the habitat destruction that contributes to disease outbreaks.

FAO, likewise, recommends regulatory entities to adopt measures to avoid food price volatility when battling health and economic crises. Furthermore, it is of high importance to enhance international cooperation and funding to help avoid devastating impacts on smallholder famers in countries with limited resources.

FAO, being the lead UN agency in promoting food and nutrition security and safety, lends expertise to Member States to adopt policies and measures securing the food supply chains and easing accessibility for all. All have a role to play to realize the vision of a world without hunger and malnutrition.

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FAO
Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations