Catastrophic Levels of Hunger Can Be Avoided if World Works Together towards Global Food System, Secretary-General Tells General Assembly Special Event

Following is the text of UN Secretary-General António Guterres’ video remarks to the General Assembly high-level special event, “Time to Act Together:  Coordinating Policy Responses to the Global Food Crisis”, in New York today:

I commend the Committee on World Food Security, the President of the General Assembly and our Global Crisis Response Group for joining forces at this critical moment.

Our world faces a host of challenges — climate change, COVID-19, conflicts and rising inflation.  Against this backdrop, food, energy and fertilizer prices are skyrocketing, aggravated by the war in Ukraine.  Taken together, this is a recipe for economic hardship, social turmoil, and record levels of hunger.

As the latest State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World report reveals, the last two years have already seen a doubling of the number of people who are severely food insecure.  We face a real risk of multiple famines this year.  And next year could be even worse.

But, we can avoid this catastrophe if we act now.  And as our meeting theme reminds us, if we act together to craft bold and coordinated policy responses.  This means immediately reintegrating Ukraine’s food production, and Russia’s food and fertilizer, into world markets, and keeping global trade open.

It means tackling the finance crisis in the developing world and urgently unlocking all possible resources to enhance social protection and support smallholder and family farmers to increase productivity and self-reliance.  And it means transforming food systems at every level — to put affordable, healthy and sustainable diets within reach of every person, everywhere.

The United Nations is committed to working with all of you to solve this crisis, and to continue pressing for a global food system that works for all people.  Let’s get there together.

For information media. Not an official record.