New Delhi: The world marks October 16 as World Food Day to promote global awareness about hunger and action for the future of food, people, and the planet. The day also marks the founding of the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) of the United Nations, which was established on the same day in 1945.
World Food Day Theme 2023
This year, the focus has been driven towards the critical role of water for life and water as the foundation of our food, with the theme – ‘Water is Life, Water is Food. Leave No One Behind’. The aim is to raise global awareness about the importance of managing water wisely as rapid population growth, economic development, urbanisation, and climate change have threatened the water availability, further leading to rise in food insecurity.
According to the United Nations World Water Report 2023, the global population facing water scarcity is projected to increase from 933 million in 2016 to 1.7 – 2.4 billion people in 2050, with India projected to be the most severely affected.
Water is a driving force for people, economies and nature and the foundation of our food. On one hand, it is essential for food production and on the other what we eat, and how that food is produced all affect water. It is key to food security, as the crops and livestock need water to grow.
But decades of poor water management, misuse, and pollution have degraded freshwater supplies and ecosystems, according to theFood and Agriculture Organization (FAO).
The Reality Of Water Inaccessibility – In Numbers
According to the report by FAO:
– Globally, nearly 2.4 billion people live in countries where the supply of water is limited.
– Globally, only 2.5 per cent of water is fresh, suitable for drinking, agriculture, and industrial uses. In terms of agriculture, the global water demand for agriculture is expected to increase by 35 per cent up to 2050. Rapid population growth, urbanisation, economic development, and climate change have also degraded the planet’s water resources, FAO further added.
– Freshwater resources per person globally have declined 20 per cent in the past decades, and water availability and quality are deteriorating fast due to decades of poor use and management, over extraction of groundwater, pollution and climate change.
The Importance of World Food Day
World Food Day is a reminder for the world to tackle the global hunger crisis and to promote the message that food is a fundamental and basic human right.
The objective of World Food Day 2023 is to raise awareness on the relationship between water and food production and promote more sustainable food production and consumption patterns. The day is to alert the world of the adverse global situation in water and food security, and to encourage decision-makers to seize opportunities to address global challenges.