A further session of the third World Youth Forum (WYF) entitled ‘Food Security in Africa: How do we achieve the second of the sustainable development goals (SDGs)’ discussed food security as a cornerstone for sustainable economic growth. The session shed light on nutritional behaviour, on obstacles hindering the achievement of food security, on nutrition improvement, reinforcement of sustainable agriculture, and the impact of conflicts, climate change and water scarcity on food security.
During the session, David Beasley, Executive Director of United Nations World Food Programme, highlighted the damage from human conflicts, climate change and terrorism in contributing to global hunger. “The number of chronically hungry people worldwide hit 821 million in 2018, up from 777 million three years earlier,” said Beasley. The countries that suffer most from the risk of famine are Somalia, South Sudan and Yemen, as well as Nigeria’s northeast region. These countries and regions have been overwhelmed by conflict for years, forcing tens of millions to flee their homes he said, “Disruption of lives impedes the production of food, thus causing famine and hunger.”
In his address, Beasley also said that hunger could lead to more fighting in other instances. “Around 90 million people do not have any access to food, also there are 250 million people on the verge of starvation as they do not know whether or not they will have a next meal to eat,” Beasley stated.
Director-General of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation Xu Donyo said that hunger rates all over the globe were increasing due to undernourishment and absence of food security in Africa and the Middle East. Donyo said that there were 1.6 billion young people in Africa who were under the age of 35. Those young people represented 85% of the continent's population meaning that Africa’s future was filled with opportunities for young adults who could work and produce food.
Health rates, according to Donyo are deteriorating among children and young people, due to the difficulties faced by families of the African continent. He said that several countries in the region were concerned about the health of young people but the countries where problems and conflicts were widespread, such as Syria and Somalia, did not care about their young people.
At the end of his speech, Donyo expressed his appreciation at participating in the forum saying, "I am happy to be in the WYF for the first time."
The Minister of Youth and Sports of Rwanda, Rose Mary Mobizi, said that countries must provide serious care as to how to maintain a balanced consumption of lunch, noting that food security is the most important security there is. "In order to achieve food security, we need to empower women, who constitute more than half of African society. In many African countries, there are many women who take over the management of the family, therefore we must provide them with the environment necessary to achieve food security,” Mobizi said.
Rwanda sought to support youth, the minister said, and provided special programmes for their participation in achieving food security in Rwanda and to support their working in agriculture, saying that with “Every 1% increase in hunger there is a nearly 2% increase in migration.”