Hunger knows no boundaries. It touches every facet of our societies, and makes plain the pains of poverty and inequality. Food is a strong connector, through socialising, cultural expression, community participation and interacting with nature. This is why hunger in our society impacts us all, and why we must strengthen our personal and organisational commitments to ensure no one feels the isolation and injustice of hunger.
World Hunger Day is an annual day of mobilisation by civil society, business, government and citizens committed to improved food systems for all. This year, it comes at a moment when the vulnerabilities and inadequacies of our global food system are most visible.
Today we wish to clearly acknowledge that many of our continent’s people still go to bed hungry; that while many are able to feed themselves, they still cannot access nourishing foods; that many of our bright new generation are denied their full potential through lack of early childhood nutrition; that these citizens are increasingly vulnerable to impacts of climate change; and that they have been put at greater risk due to COVID-19 and the measures needed to contain it.
On World Hunger Day, RUAF and ICLEI Africa also wish to celebrate the people, communities and organisations who work continuously to improve access to nourishing food in the face of global change, and whose efforts are bolstered by even greater solidarity during this pandemic. We wish to note the great efforts undertaken by our local and sub-national government members, to provide strong leadership, facilitate stakeholder engagement, and implement social and infrastructural programmes to improve food system governance and the achievement of SDG 2: end hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture, and African Union Agenda 2063 Goal 3: healthy and well-nourished citizens. We know that huge efforts are still needed to ensure that no one remains hungry, but we also believe that this is achievable through partnership, communication and commitment by every one of us.
ICLEI Africa is looking forward to the upcoming launch of the #AfricanCITYFOODMonth campaign, supported by RUAF and CITYFOOD Network, that will share information, stories, experiences and innovations that can improve food and nutrition security in our cities. The campaign will run from 1 July to 31 July 2020 and provide a platform for exchange and learning. During June, we invite you to share further resources, ideas, case studies, photos and videos via Twitter (tag @ICLEIAfrica, @ruaf)), on Instagram (@futureafricancities) or with Solophina.Nekesa@iclei.org.
The fragility of, and flaws in, our global food system have been laid bare by this pandemic. Now is the time to take bold, decisive action to address them. Together, let us imagine the possibilities of resilient, inclusive, economically generative, restorative food systems for African cities. And let’s make them reality.
Yours in Solidarity,
Regional Director, ICLEI Africa
René van Veenhuizen
Coordinator of the RUAF Global Partnership on Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems
Senior Programme Manager Hivos
Header photo: Maputo Central Market (Paul Currie, @pkctures on Instagram)