By THE NATION
THE Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations has announced that Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn has graciously agreed to represent the organisation as a Special Ambassador for Zero Hunger.
The announcement was made during a special presentation to the Princess at a ceremony to mark the 36th World Food Day at the FAO’s regional office for Asia and the Pacific in Bangkok.
Achieving a world of zero hunger by 2030 is one of the Sustainable Development Goals developed and agreed by the international community.
“The acceptance of Her Royal Highness to represent the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation as a Special Ambassador for Zero Hunger will greatly improve awareness of both policymakers and the public of what, collectively, we must do to achieve a world without hunger,” said Kundhavi Kadiresan, assistant director-general and FAO regional representative for Asia and the Pacific.
“With political will and commitment we can be the zero-hunger generation.”
Her Royal Highness has long been a champion of projects to end hunger and improve nutrition, not only in Thailand but also in other countries of the Asia-Pacific region, including Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia, Laos and East Timor.
It was because of the many years devoted by Her Royal Highness in the fight against hunger and support for improvements to nutrition that FAO director-general Jose Graziano da Silva proposed the role of FAO Special Ambassador for Zero Hunger.
The FAO’s most recent estimates indicate there are nearly 800 million undernourished people in the world. The Asia-Pacific region is home to most, with 490 million not receiving enough calories to live healthy lives.
While hunger is a major issue, poor nutrition is another, with bad diets leading to micronutrient deficiency and stunting in children. Obesity is also a serious concern in many countries, affecting both adults and children.
The Asia-Pacific region has made great strides over the past quarter-century to reduce hunger. Nearly 24 per cent of the population was hungry in 1990. By the end of 2015, that percentage had been reduced by half, to around 12 per cent, although some parts of the region, particularly countries in South Asia, had lagged behind.
The FAO works with its member countries to help improve and protect food systems, ensure better nutrition and healthy consumption, and adapt agricultural practices to a changing climate in order to feed a growing world population.