22 June 2019

Africa: Mandela's Widow Warns Leaders Failing Pledge to End World Hunger

Rome — 'As I stand here this morning, every minute children are dying in Africa and Asia from malnutrition'

The world is nowhere near to achieving a global goal to end hunger and malnutrition by 2030 because of a lack of accountability and responsibility by decision-makers, Nelson Mandela's widow warned on Saturday.

Graca Machel told ministers, ambassadors and representatives from 194 nations at the United Nations' Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) in Rome that the failure was at all levels - international, country and individual.

"We are not doing enough on the pace and level of investment and we're not going to get there," she told the Thomson Reuters Foundation after her lecture.

"That's my assessment, and they have to prove me wrong," added Machel, whose namesake trust promotes women's and children's rights in Africa.

Member nations of the U.N. unanimously adopted 17 global goals in 2015 committing over 15 years to tackle a list of world's most pressing issues, ranging from conflict, hunger, gender equality and climate change.

But aid groups and financial organisations are increasingly raising concerns the world is off track to meet the ambitious set of targets by 2030.

Globally, 821 million people - or one in nine - did not have enough food to eat in 2017, the third consecutive year of rising hunger levels, according to latest U.N. figures.

Climate change is already affecting crop productivity and growing seasons, and could leave more people hungry in Africa, warned Machel, who is also member of the Elders, a group of elder statesmen set up by her late husband Nelson Mandela.

"If the current situation persists, Africa will be fulfilling only 13% of its food needs by 2050," she said.

"I want people to change their attitudes towards hunger," said Machel, a former first lady of Mozambique, whose first husband, President Samora Machel, died in a plane crash in 1986.

She urged international donors and governments to boost investment in rural areas and scale up efforts to end hunger.

"We have the knowledge, the technology. (But) even the resources which are necessary to invest in rural areas are not as big as the terrible things people are doing to destroy the environment," Machel said.

"As I stand here this morning, every minute children are dying in Africa and Asia from malnutrition," Machel said in an impassioned speech at the opening of the FAO Conference, the organisation's highest governing body.

 - Reporting By Thin Lei Win @thinink, Editing by Belinda Goldsmitt

Africa

Migrant Deaths Globally Top 32,000 Since 2014 - IOM

The International Organization for Migration says more than 32,000 migrants worldwide have died or gone missing between… Read more »

See What Everyone is Watching

More From: Thomson Reuters Foundation

Don't Miss

AllAfrica publishes around 700 reports a day from more than 140 news organizations and over 500 other institutions and individuals, representing a diversity of positions on every topic. We publish news and views ranging from vigorous opponents of governments to government publications and spokespersons. Publishers named above each report are responsible for their own content, which AllAfrica does not have the legal right to edit or correct.

Articles and commentaries that identify allAfrica.com as the publisher are produced or commissioned by AllAfrica. To address comments or complaints, please Contact us.