UN Ambassador Princess Sirindhorn advocates food and equality

PHOTO: Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn calls for food security and equality. (via IC-7)

Acting as a United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation’s Special Goodwill Ambassador, Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn called for a focus on food and equality in the Asia-Pacific region. She made remarks to commemorate World Food Day yesterday in a speech.

She delivered the address via video as covered by the Bangkok Post and urged the Asia-Pacific region to work together toward peace and equality as well as food and nutritional security. The Princess praised progress over the past few decades and recognised the challenge as the region contains many of the world’s most rapidly expanding economies.

”This year’s World Food Day is taking place in a year with multiple global challenges. In the Asia and the Pacific region, we are still living with a lingering pandemic, continued damage caused by climate change and natural disasters, rising prices, conflicts and international tensions. All of this is affecting our global food security.”

With the exploding economies, Asia is battling social, gender, and economic inequality with vulnerable people being marginalised. These populations face malnutrition and famine issues, as well as unemployment and political instability. These maladies often create a push from poorer rural environments to bigger cities with more opportunities. This brings its oost of societal problems.

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The region still has a long way to go to meet the Sustainable Development Goals 2030 plan laid out by the State of Food Security and Nutrition in Asia and the Pacific report compiled by the UN. Progress has slowed, perhaps hampered by the pandemic.

So what steps can be taken now? The director of the FAO stressed investment in agrifood systems that can help large and small-scale food producers. Empowering the little guy is an important focus to end hunger and inequality and the plan encourages training and education to incentivise poor people, young people, and women who are too often marginalised.

The aim for inclusivity can make sustainable development a goal worked toward by the entire society. Group efforts are required to reduce food waste and produce healthier, locally sourced food while preserving water and soil carefully. The Princess said disasters can be weathered with this holistic and inclusive approach.

“Agrifood systems should be transformed to be more resilient to shocks and stresses, including natural disasters and pandemics such as Covid-19. This would require innovative and cost-effective measures aimed at providing social protection to reduce vulnerabilities, particularly of women, Indigenous peoples and socially marginalised smallholders. Leaving no one behind, regardless of age, gender, race, ethnicity, location, disability or migratory status, remains the central commitment of the 2030 Agenda.”

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Neill Fronde

Neill is a journalist from the United States with 10+ years broadcasting experience and national news and magazine publications. He graduated with a degree in journalism and communications from the University of California and has been living in Thailand since 2014.

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