Today is International Women’s Day when women worldwide are celebrated yet many women continue to face gender inequality especially in the agricultural sector. According to the FAO, 80% of the farmland in sub-Saharan Africa and Asia is managed by small-holder farmers and about 2.5 billion people in poor countries are employed within the agricultural sector. Most of these are women. Women make up 43% of the agricultural workforce in the Global South and an estimated 66% of livestock keepers yet many of them do not have land ownership right nor access to resources. This is a challenge which threatens global food security and the sustainability of food systems especially in rural areas where more people suffer from hunger, malnutrition, and poverty.
Happy Canadian Ag Day! Today February 22, we celebrate Canadian agriculture. Indeed, food and those who make it is always worth celebrating! Here in Canada, we have an ancient love for farmers and the food they produce. After all, Canadian farmers play a key role in Canada’s food chain and economy. They provide employment to over a quarter of a million people and produce enough food to feed the whole country as well as others overseas.
The United Nations Environment Assembly gathers every two years to discuss issues related to climate change and environmental protection. The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) organizes the biannual event which designs policies and make recommendations to promote environmental sustainability.
For the first time in history, Global Goals Week has been held outside of the UN’s General Assembly in New York. Instead, the week, which aims to raise awareness of the 17 sustainable development goals and their importance for all people everywhere, has been inserted into Expo 2020 Dubai. Expo 2020 is an event aimed at promoting sustainability and this can be seen through its infrastructure made up of reusable construction materials and energy sources, of which half of it is renewable.
After a challenging 2020 filled with lockdowns and cancellations of in-person meetings as well as travel restrictions, we looked forward to a better year in 2021 and we were not disappointed! As we adjusted to a new normal filled with hybrid meetings or new travel requirements, we also welcomed all the exciting projects, conferences and achievements. Here are a few highlights:
The World Malaria Report 2021 has recently been released by the WHO. This year, a new methodology was used to calculate the malaria mortality rate in children under 5 since 2000. This has led to revisions in malaria statistics from 2000 till date.
One of my highlights of the past year was 2021 Borlaug Dialogue Roundtable on Nutrition-Sensitive Food Systems organised by Barbara Stinson’s team at the World Food Prize Foundation. I had the privilege of moderating a discussion between experts, farmers, and past World Food Prize winners on how to achieve better nutrition globally. It is key to improve access to and affordability of healthier foods, including fruits and vegetables, pulses, dairy, and blue foods.
The 2021 World Children’s Day was marked on November 20 under the theme A Better Future for Every Child and called on leaders to listen to the ideas and demands of children. Since 1990, World Children's Day also marks the anniversary of the date that the UN General Assembly adopted both the Declaration and the Convention on children's rights. The day is a moment for all of us to advocate, promote, and celebrate children’s rights and translate them into dialogues and actions to build a better world for children. As we continue to take bold actions to transform our food systems, we must ensure this transformation contributes to the welfare of children. Sustainable food systems must improve the nutritional status of children, particularly in the first 1000 days of their lives when proper nutrition is critical to children’s early development and impacts their future health and potential.
The conversation about food has taken on a whole new meaning thanks to the UN Food Systems Summit. Food has always played a key role in our lives: from bringing family and friends together, to providing a source of income to millions of people, to shaping national and international policy. The importance of food can never be overstated. However, the discussion on food has usually been quite narrow and limited. Until recently, the idea of food only pointed to what we eat. The Summit has expanded the traditional idea of food to include the whole life cycle of getting what we eat from farm to table.
November 14 is World Diabetes Day and we commemorate it under the theme “Access to diabetes care”. The International Diabetes Federation and the World Health Organization began World Diabetes Day in 1991 in response to the growing health threat posed by diabetes. The date was chosen in honour of the birthday of Canadian Sir Frederick Banting, who jointly discovered insulin with Dr. Charles Best.