Statement by Minister Oda on Zero Hunger Challenge

June 22, 2012 - Almost one billion men, women, and children around the world face chronic hunger. Lack of access to sufficient, safe, and nutritious food is one of the major obstacles to reducing poverty in developing countries. Countries around the world must continue to work together to address hunger and malnutrition.

For this reason, I welcome the launch by United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon of a new initiative called the Zero Hunger Challenge. This new initiative aims to create a world where everyone has access to enough nutritious food all year round and to end malnutrition in pregnancy and early childhood, while making all food systems sustainable and creating greater opportunities for smallholder farmers to double their productivity and income. The Zero Hunger Challenge also has as one of its five objectives to prevent loss of food after production, stop food waste, and consume responsibly.

One of the main objectives of CIDA' s food security strategy is to address the extreme hunger and malnutrition of the world's most vulnerable people. It brings together a number of key activities, from food production to ensuring access to quality food, into a more systematic and integrated approach to increasing global food security.

CIDA's food security strategy builds on Canada's strong foundation as the second largest donor to the United Nations World Food Programme, our chairmanship of the renegotiation of the Food Assistance Convention, and as a leader in supporting recognized organizations and programs, such as the International Fund for Agricultural Development, the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research, the Global Agriculture and Food Security Program, and the World Bank Group.

Canada is recognized as an accountable and transparent food security donor with significant programming experience in sustainable agricultural development.

Canada is also supporting development partners such as the Scaling Up Nutrition Movement, the Micronutrient Initiative, UNICEF, and Hellen Keller International to increase the quality and quantity of direct nutrition interventions for the world's most vulnerable. These interventions help reduce undernutrition in pregnancy and early childhood, reducing illness and death in children and their mothers.

The goals set for the Zero Hunger Challenge relate to CIDA's objectives of increasing food security and improving nutrition around the world by increasing access to healthy, nutritious food and much-needed nutritional supplements that reduce mortality and disease.

Beverley J. Oda
Minister of International Cooperation