New York: Food should be viewed as a human right, not as a commodity, United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said on Thursday. “We need to re-think how we see and value food — not simply as a commodity to be traded, but as a right that every person shares,” the UN chief told the landmark UN Food Systems Summit, that brought together farmers and fishers, youth, indigenous peoples, heads of state and government and many more, in an effort to transform the sector and get the world back on track to achieve all 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030. “But in countries, communities and households in every corner of the world, this essential need — this human right — is going unfulfilled,” said the secretary-general.
“Every day, hundreds of millions of people go to bed hungry. Children are starving. Three billion people cannot afford a healthy diet. Two billion are overweight or obese. Four hundred and sixty-two million are underweight. And nearly one-third of all food that is produced is lost or wasted,” he went on.
The top UN official urged governments and businesses to work together to “increase access to healthy diets, including by incentivizing new behaviours.” He called for efforts to build food systems “that protect our planet.”
Throughout, we need to strengthen the resilience of local food systems to external shocks, like conflict, climate change and pandemics. We must build a world where healthy and nutritious food is available and affordable for everyone, everywhere, he added.
The secretary-general said although food systems generate one-third of all greenhouse gas emissions and are responsible for up to 80 percent of biodiversity loss, “they can and must play a leading role” in addressing all the challenges facing the world to realize the SDGs by 2030. “We need food systems that support the health and well-being of all people,” he said, adding that malnutrition, hunger and famine are not forces of nature, but “the result of the actions — or inactions — of all of us.
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NDTV – Dettol have been working towards a clean and healthy India since 2014 via Banega Swachh India initiative, which is helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan. The campaign aims to highlight the inter-dependency of humans and the environment, and of humans on one another with the focus on One Health, One Planet, One Future – Leaving No One Behind. It stresses on the need to take care of, and consider, everyone’s health in India – especially vulnerable communities – the LGBTQ population, indigenous people, India’s different tribes, ethnic and linguistic minorities, people with disabilities, migrants, geographically remote populations, gender and sexual minorities. In wake of the current COVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) is reaffirmed as handwashing is one of the ways to prevent Coronavirus infection and other diseases. The campaign will continue to raise awareness on the same along with focussing on the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children, fight malnutrition, mental wellbeing, self care, science and health, adolescent health & gender awareness. Along with the health of people, the campaign has realised the need to also take care of the health of the eco-system. Our environment is fragile due to human activity, that is not only over-exploiting available resources, but also generating immense pollution as a result of using and extracting those resources. The imbalance has also led to immense biodiversity loss that has caused one of the biggest threats to human survival – climate change. It has now been described as a “code red for humanity.” The campaign will continue to cover issues like air pollution, waste management, plastic ban, manual scavenging and sanitation workers and menstrual hygiene. Banega Swasth India will also be taking forward the dream of Swasth Bharat, the campaign feels that only a Swachh or clean India where toilets are used and open defecation free (ODF) status achieved as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014, can eradicate diseases like diahorrea and the country can become a Swasth or healthy India.