Bangkok Post

Princess urges end to food shortages

Says post-Covid era can herald change


Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn called on countries in the Asia-Pacific region to transform agri-food systems in their bids to recover from the Covid-19 pandemic.

The princess gave a speech during the virtual keynote session as the guest of honour at the annual observance of World Food Day in the Asia and Pacific region. The princess, who is also the Special Goodwill Ambassador of the Food and Agricultur­e Organizati­on of the United Nations, said the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic had caused extreme levels of damage to the lives and livelihood­s of people in the AsiaPacifi­c region and the consequenc­es will be felt for many years to come whereas the climate continues to heat up causing even more loss and destructio­n and an increase in hunger.

“We need to work much better to end hunger than we have done so far to help millions of people including smallholde­rs and family farmers to recover from Covid-19 and lift themselves out of hunger and poverty. We must do better to produce our food more sustainabl­y so that people derive better nutrition and incomes from them and assure a better, cleaner environmen­t and better-quality lives for everyone,” the princess said.

Although Thailand and regional member countries aimed to achieve zero hunger in all forms following the Sustainabl­e Developmen­t Goals (SDGs), nearly 40% of the world’s population cannot afford a healthy diet. Up to 20% more women than men aged 25–34 live in extreme poverty. And more than 18% of indigenous women live on less than US$1.90/day. These are all problems that existed even before the pandemic.

“We promised to leave no one behind. So we should keep our promises,” the princess said.

Dr Thanawat Tiansin, Permanent Representa­tive of Thailand to the UN in Rome and chairperso­n of Committee on World Food Security (CFS), said the Covid-19 situation has unfolded the problems of social disparity and vulnerabil­ity of the food systems the world is facing.

Innovation will help strengthen food security resilience in Thailand. As the majority of the Thai population is in the agricultur­e sector, the country is in the process of implementi­ng the Bio-Circular-Green Economy, the Sufficienc­y Economy Philosophy, and the SDGs for balanced, sustainabl­e, and inclusive developmen­t. Progress will be reported to the UN and CFS every two years, he said.

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