United Nations Current Affairs - 2019

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Poor-Quality diet greater public health threat than malaria, tuberculosis or measles: FAO

According to recently released report “Preventing nutrient loss and waste across the food system: Policy actions for high-quality diets”, one-in-five deaths is associated with poor-quality diets. It shows that regularly eating poor-quality food has become greater public health threat than malaria, tuberculosis or measles. The report was published by United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).

As per FAO Report

More than half of all globally-produced fruits and vegetables are lost or wasted annually. Around 25% of all meat produced, equivalent to 75 million cows, goes uneaten. About one-third of food produced for human consumption never reaches consumer’s plate. Global food loss or waste annually is estimated to be around $1 trillion.

Nutrient-rich foods, like fruits, vegetables, seafood, meats are highly perishable, so susceptible to losses throughout increasingly complex food production systems. Globally, agriculture produces 22% more vitamin A required for human consumption, but after loss and waste, amount available is merely 11% per cent less than required.

In Low-income nations, food is mostly lost during harvesting, storage, processing and transportation while in high-income nations problem lies in retail and consumer level waste. Together, they directly impact number of calories and nutrients actually available for consumption. Reducing food loss and waste, mainly high-nutrient foods, has nutritional benefits and also contributes to Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

FAO recommended solutions

Policymakers need to reduce food loss and waste in order to improve access to nutritious and healthy food. Food systems that increase availability, affordability and consumption of fresh, nutrient-rich food for everyone must be put in place to tackle all forms of malnutrition and to promote healthy diets.

Series of policy actions should be taken across entire food system, including educating all concerned, focusing on perishable foods, improving public and private infrastructure and closing data gaps on food losses and waste.

Reducing loss and waste of nutritious foods could yield substantial health benefits, given direct impact on wellbeing, learning capacity and productivity. Cutting down on food waste will yield major economic benefits. Besides, eating more of food already produced, will avoid wasting water, land and energy that went into its production.

Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO)

It is specialised agency of UN that leads international efforts to defeat hunger. Its parent organization is UN Economic and Social Council (UNESC). It was established on 16 October 1945 and its headquarters are in Rome, It has 197 member states, along with European Union (member organization).

UN World Food Programme, Alibaba Group form strategic partnership to eliminate hunger

United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) and Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group have formed  strategic partnership to support efforts eliminate hunger globally by 2030. The agreement was signed between WFP Executive Director David Beasley and Alibaba Partner and Chairman of Alibaba Foundation Sun Lijun at Alibaba’s headquarters in Hangzhou, China.

Key Facts

Under this agreement, Alibaba will lend its cutting-edge technology and resources to support digital transformation of WFP’s operations. In particular, Alibaba Cloud, the cloud computing arm of Alibaba will work with WFP to develop digital “World Hunger Map”. The map will help to monitor global hunger and operations to end scourge by 2030 which is one of UN’s key Sustainable Development goals. It also aims to boost efficiency of interventions and shorten emergency response times.

World Food Programme (WFP)

The WEF is the food-assistance branch of the United Nations. It is the world’s largest humanitarian organization addressing hunger and promoting food security. It works to help people who cannot produce or obtain enough food for themselves and their families. It is a member of the United Nations Development Group (UNDG) and part of its Executive Committee. It was established in 1961 after 1960 Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) Conference. It is headquartered in Rome (Italy) and has more than 80 country offices around the world. It provides food assistance to an average of 80 million people in 75 countries each year.