Photo: WFP/Marianela Gonzalez

In a World of Wealth, 9 Million People Die Every Year From Hunger, WFP Chief Tells Food System Summit

September 24, 2021

NEW YORK – The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) Executive Director David Beasley has called on world leaders to make food security a reality for all and to build a stronger, healthier planet through better food systems.

Excerpts from David Beasley’s remarks at the Food Systems Summit in New York, September 23, 2021

“Now is the time to roll up our sleeves because, you know, children can’t eat empty promises. It’s up to us to deliver and make food security and nutrition a reality.”

“If we’re struggling today to reach the 7.7 billion people, imagine having 10, 11, 12 billion people on earth. […] It’s a lot cheaper to address root cause and give the people the resources they need to empower them, helping indigenous populations, empowering and inspiring the youth, all of this coming together to make this a stronger, a healthier, a better planet.”

“There is 400 trillion dollars’ worth of wealth on the earth today, and the fact that 9 million people die from hunger every year… Shame on us. In the height of COVID-19, billionaires’ net worth increase was $5.2 billion per day. At the same time 24,000 people die per day from hunger. Shame on us. Every hour the net worth of billionaires during the height of COVID-19 was a substantial $216 million per hour. Yet 1000 people per hour were dying from hunger… Shame on us.”

“When the Nobel Peace Prize Committee awarded the U.N. World Food Programme the Nobel Peace Prize, it was a call to action for all of us. My goal is to put the U.N. World Food Programme out of business. But how can we do that with the direction that we’re now going?”

“As Rome-based agencies, we’re not just leaders, we’re cheerleaders to empower the private sector, inspire those in civil society and individuals to make certain that we love our neighbor as our equal so that a child in Niger is just as important as a child in New York. Imagine… children around the world dying unnecessarily […] We’ve had 4.7 million people die from COVID-19.  At the same time, we had 16 million people die from hunger.”

“You see we got the expertise. We got the dedication of the United Nations. I do believe that this call for action will be heard by leaders around the world.”

Download photos of the U.N. World Food Programme’s work to improve and consolidate food systems here.

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The United Nations World Food Programme is the 2020 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate.  We are the world’s largest humanitarian organization, saving lives in emergencies and using food assistance to build a pathway to peace, stability and prosperity for people recovering from conflict, disasters and the impact of climate change.

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