The Honourable Karina Gould, Minister of International Development, today issued the following statement:
“Over the last 4 years, global hunger has been on the rise-and COVID-19 has exacerbated this trend. The COVID-19 health crisis is threatening to create a ‘hunger pandemic’ that could bring another 132 million people into chronic hunger. Earlier this week, the 2020 Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to the World Food Programme [WFP] for ‘acting as a driving force in efforts to prevent the use of hunger as a weapon of war and conflict.’ The WFP is racing to reach people in 88 countries who are suffering from acute food insecurity and hunger because ‘Until the day we have a medical vaccine, food is the best vaccine against chaos.’
“The immediate, coordinated response from international actors to support organizations like the WFP and the Food and Agriculture Organization was critical to provide emergency access to food and preserve livelihoods for the most vulnerable.
“While this immediate help is vital, it is also critical to focus on rebuilding food systems for greater resilience. Now is the time to integrate nutrition needs with agricultural production goals and view climate-action objectives alongside efforts to preserve livelihoods. And when two thirds of the world’s smallholder farmers are women, it is crucial to include them in decision making and developing solutions.
“COVID-19 has laid bare the risks and vulnerabilities in our food system, but it is also an opportunity to do things better. We need to find and amplify new ways to increase food productivity, reduce waste, raise incomes equitably and improve health and nutrition. It is also time to re-examine how to ensure that our food system stays sustainable and supports biodiversity.
“The UN Food Systems Summit in 2021 will be an important opportunity to identify specific solutions for countries, communities and companies to respond to the current crisis and to build back better for people and the planet. Canada looks forward to contributing to this summit and to building more-resilient food systems both at home and abroad.”