UN - United Nations

12/07/2021 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 12/07/2021 12:19

Almost Half of Humanity Cannot Afford Healthy Diets, Secretary-General Tells Nutrition for Growth Summit, Urging Support for Stronger Food Systems

Following is the text of UN Secretary‑General António Guterres' video message to the Nutrition for Growth Summit, in Tokyo today:

The Decade of Action to eliminate poverty and hunger and achieve the Sustainable Development Goals is well under way. Yet, hunger is still on the rise. Nearly 1 in 10 people in the world are severely food insecure due to conflict, climate disruption and poverty.

Some 3 billion people - almost half of all humanity - cannot afford a healthy diet. And two thirds of children lack the diverse diets they need to thrive.

Communities are inundated with processed foods that are high in salt, sugar and saturated fat, and low in essential nutrients and fibre. Unhealthy diets contribute to the deaths up to 8 million people every year.

The COVID-19 pandemic is making these numbers worse. Hunger rose 20 per cent last year, with more than 41 million people on the verge of starvation.

People need healthy food systems that can sustain them. And children need nutritious and safe foods so they can grow and develop to their full potential.

In September, the United Nations Food Systems Summit highlighted the need to provide nutrition, health and well-being to a growing population.

The Nutrition for Growth Summit can advance this work by pushing for better nutrition policies and programmes, and by attracting new commitments to strengthen food systems. I commend your efforts to deliver good nutrition for all on a healthy planet.