Professor Dr Oliver De Schutter, the United Nations
Professor Dr Oliver De Schutter, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food, highlighted the importance of preparing to fight starvation across the world due to increasing populations in developing countries and failed agricultural policies.
In a lecture held yesterday at the Majlis of General Sheikh Mohammad Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Abu Dhabi Crown Prince and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, De Schutter said: “We are facing an unprecedented challenge nowadays. One out of seven people suffer from hunger and 35 per cent of death rates among children are due to hunger.”
De Schutter, a world-renowned expert on social, economic and trade rights said: \"about ten percent of the world’s population will suffer from hunger by 2015. Over the past 50 years, increases in agricultural productivity have consistently outstripped increases in demand for agricultural products.”
It is estimated that about 925 million people are hungry in the world today. This is an increase from 852 million in 2003-2005, and 820 million in 1996, said De Schutter.
About ten per cent of the world’s population will suffer from hunger by 2015. Over the past 50 years, increases in agricultural productivity have consistently outstripped increases in demand for agricultural products,” he said.
“Since the population of the world doubles every 30 to 33 years, the world population will reach 10.3 billion by 2070,” warned De Schutter.
He called on nations to cooperate to solve the issue of famine, poverty and hunger which is a real danger for future generations.
“Hunger is a political issue that has to do with political responsibility and political strategies. Since the right to food is a human right, people have to solve their political issues peacefully rather than by war which damages economies and communities,” said De Schutter.
“Previous agro policies have failed. The world food price crisis, characterised by a sudden increases of prices of agricultural commodities on the international markets which peaked in June 2008, took the USA and the international community by surprise, “ he said.
De Schutter pointed out the crisis had devastating human consequences, with particularly severe impacts on women and children, due to inequalities within households and due to the specific nutritional needs of children for their physical and mental development.
“The prices of food commodities on global markets peaked again during the second half of 2010, at a time when the ability for public budgets to cope with the increased prices of food imports was particularly low, and when the poorest households had already sold most of their productive assets simply to survive,” he said.
“Unless the right to food is placed at the very centre of the efforts of the international community to address the structural causes which have led to the global food crisis, we risk repeating our past mistakes. We may succeed in producing more out of fear of producing too little, but we may omit to address the inequities in the current food systems, and to ensure that the poor have decent incomes that allow them to have access to adequate food,” De Schutter said.