Pope Francis called for governments around the world to collaborate to make migration a safer and voluntary choice, arguing that assuring food security for all requires tackling climate change and ending conflicts. He made the call at the global ceremony to mark World Food Day, held at the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) headquarters. This year’s theme focuses on addressing migration through investing in food security and rural development.
World Food Day is being marked this year as global hunger rises for the first time in over a decade, affecting 815 million people or 11 per cent of the global population. The increase is largely due to the proliferation of violent conflicts and climate-related shocks which are also major drivers of distress migration.
Madagascar President Hery Martial Rakotoarimanana Rajaonarimampianina, whose country is facing the impacts of climate change, also spoke at the event.
Other participants in the ceremony were European Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development Phil Hogan, the President of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) Gilbert F. Houngbo and the Executive Director of the World Food Programme (WFP) David Beasley.
Ministers of agriculture from several of the Group of Seven (G7) nations attended the World Food Day ceremony – testament to the important links between food security, rural development and migration. G7 representatives were Canada’s Lawrence MacAulay, France’s Stéphane Travert, Germany’s Peter Bleser, Italy’s Maurizio Martina, the United Kingdom’s Therese Coffrey and the United States’ Sonny Perdue. Japan’s Ken Saito sent a statement of support.