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Bhutan Observes World Food Day

However, Bhutan was not included in the Global Hunger Index this year due to lack of data

By Tandin Wangchuk

The Ministry of Agriculture and Forests, Lyonpo Yeshi Penjore, and the Ministry of Agriculture and Forests (MoAF) fraternity this week joined the nation to observe the World Food Day which is marked every year on 16th of October.

The day is celebrated to observe the creation of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) to promote worldwide awareness and action for those suffering from hunger and in acknowledgment of the importance and need to ensure food security and nutritious diets for all.

MoAF said the the world Food Day, this year, marked the 76thanniversary of the FAO of the United Nations.

This year, the day was observed in a simple ceremony on 18thOctober at the Ministry of Agriculture and Forests conference hall with the close involvement of various stakeholders.

MoAF said the day celebrated the global theme for 2021 released by FAO Rome ‘Our actions are our future. Better production, better nutrition, a better environment and a better life.’

“The event commenced with the lighting of butter lamps, offering of Zhabten, video speech from FAO Director General and keynote address on the World Food Day from the Sanam Lyonpo,” MoAF stated.

Also present at the event were the UN Representative, Gerald Daly, Country representatives of FAO, WFP, UNICEF, JICA, Secretaries of MoH and MoAF, Director Generals, Directors and officials from the Ministry of Agriculture and Forests.

MoAf said the day reinforced the need to encourage awareness on sustainable agricultural practices and to celebrate the ‘Food Heroes’ who work tirelessly to provide food for the world, collectively call for global solidarity in ensuring adequate access to nutritious food for all against despite exigencies like the COVID-19 pandemic.

The agriculture minister, during his keynote speech, acknowledged farmers and growers for their unwavering dedication in pursuing clean and healthy food production for the entire country.

He also acknowledged the little efforts made by each individual, including school children who grow food as part of their school curriculums, which he said has an important contribution in realizing the larger goals of food nutrition and security.

Lyonpo stated that the Royal Government of Bhutan is delighted to integrate the FAO global theme into our own strategies for food and nutrition security.

He stated that we must use and draw on such international platforms to raise awareness on the need for supporting the transformation into more efficient, inclusive, resilient and sustainable agri-food systems for enhanced production, improved nutrition, safer environment, and a better life while leaving no one behind as enshrined in the UN’s SDG imperatives.

As a part of the celebrations, UN Representative Gerald Daly also highlighted on two important messages pertaining to covid-19 and food security and strategies of UN policy on “leave no one behind”.

Meanwhile, the Global Hunger Index, published a few days ago, throws some start realities on the level of food security in the region.

While Bhutan was excluded from the study dude to ‘lack of data,’ most of our neighbours, primarily India has shown no room for respite for the Southeast Asian region.

India slipped to 101st position in the Global Hunger Index (GHI) of 116 countries, from its 2020 position of 94th, and is behind its neighbours Pakistan, Bangladesh and Nepal.

India’s Global Hunger Index 2021 ranking at 101st position “unfortunately” reflects the reality of the country where hunger has accentuated since the Covid-19 pandemic outbreak, Oxfam India said.

The GHI score is calculated on four indicators –undernourishment; child wasting (the share of children under the age of five who are wasted i.e who have low weight for their height, reflecting acute undernutrition); child stunting (children under the age of five who have low height for their age, reflecting chronic undernutrition) and child mortality (the mortality rate of children under the age of five).

For the 2021 GHI report, data were assessed for 135 countries. Out of these, there were sufficient data to calculate 2021 GHI scores for and rank 116 countries (by way of comparison, 107 countries were ranked in the 2020 report).

For 19 countries, which includes the likes of Bhutan, individual scores could not be calculated and ranks could not be determined owing to lack of data.

The 2021 Global Hunger Index (GHI) is the 16th in a series of annual reports that present the hunger situation globally, by region, and at the country level using a multidimensional approach.

This year’s report points to a grim hunger situation fueled by a toxic cocktail of the climate crisis, the COVID-19 pandemic, and increasingly severe and protracted violent conflicts. Progress toward Zero Hunger by 2030, already far too slow, is showing signs of stagnating or even being reversed.

The 2021 Global Hunger Index (GHI) points to a dire hunger situation in a world coping with multiple crises. Progress toward Zero Hunger by 2030, already far too slow, is showing signs of stagnating or even being reversed.

Based on current GHI projections, the world as a whole—and 47 countries in particular—will fail to achieve a low level of hunger by 2030.

Conflict, climate change, and the COVID-19 pandemic— three of the most powerful and toxic forces driving hunger—threaten to wipe out any progress that has been made against hunger in recent years.

Violent conflict, which is deeply intertwined with hunger, shows no signs of abating. The consequences of climate change are becoming ever more apparent and costly, but the world has developed no fully effective mechanism to mitigate, much less reverse, it.

Further, the COVID-19 pandemic, which has spiked in different parts of the world throughout 2020 and 2021, has shown just how vulnerable we are to global contagion and the associated health and economic consequences.

The Global Hunger Index (GHI) is a tool designed to comprehensively measure and track hunger at global, regional, and national levels. GHI scores are calculated each year to assess progress and setbacks in combating hunger.

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