Good Reason for Optimism
Kofi Annan identifies the two most important challenges for Africa's future development in this urgent and inspirational call to action.
No human right is violated more frequently than the human right to food. Roughly 800 million people throughout the world still suffer from hunger. Two billion people are malnourished. Their diets are too one-sided and contain too few vital nutrients, making it impossible for them to lead decent, healthy lives. Hunger is not just the biggest health risk there is; it is one of the worst constraints on development. Hunger can lead to flight and forced migration; it undermines people's opportunities and nurtures violence.
The main cause of hunger and malnutrition is poverty. Poverty is what stops people from being able to buy sufficient healthy food. It is agriculture that offers the ultimate key to fighting poverty and hunger because it creates jobs and incomes for small-scale farmers and opportunities for the future in rural areas.
But climate change and the need to adapt to it are putting enormous pressure on agriculture. At the same time, inappropriate agricultural methods in developing countries are causing serious ecological problems, such as deforestation, loss of biodiversity and soil degradation. That is why innovation is so important for sustainable, climate-smart agriculture.
This is where the One World – No Hunger special initiative of the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) comes in: We are promoting innovation through 13 green innovation centres – for instance, better seeds for higher yields, new forms of organisation and cooperation for better marketing opportunities, and new strains of plants to meet the challenges of a changing climate. And we are also helping to boost agriculture in other ways: healthy soils, fair and secure land rights, access to agricultural loans, insurance products, advisory services and training, roads and rural pathways, energy and water. We will reach a total of 500,000 farms through our green innovation centres.
Promoting agriculture and rural development and targeted measures to improve food and nutrition security for those most affected (pregnant women, mothers, small children) are a priority for the BMZ. These measures allow us to achieve food security for millions of people. At the international level too, we are working towards achieving the goal of One World – No Hunger. In response to an initiative of the BMZ, the G7 announced at Schloss Elmau that, together with our partners, they will aim to lift 500 million people out of hunger and malnutrition by 2030. The G7 are thus sending a strong signal to the international community, saying we will make an important contribution towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.
Our goal is to eradicate hunger and malnutrition and to lay the foundations so that a growing world population will still be able to feed itself in the future.
Part of the success in fighting hunger will be that each and every one of us shoulders a share of the responsibility – regardless of where we live. We can all make a contribution to protecting global resources by acting as responsible consumers.
This edition of Digital Development Debates can tell you more about the many links between food and development. I would like to invite you to join us in our efforts to eradicate hunger. Because a world without hunger is possible.
Dr. Gerd Müller, Member of the German Parliament
Federal Minister for Economic Cooperation and Development