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In support of the United Nations Zero Hunger Challenge, the United Nations Association of Australia (Victoria) held a half-day seminar on Global Food Security and Sustainable Agriculture: Australia’s Role? Challenges and Opportunities on Tuesday 29 October in Melbourne in partnership with NAB and the University of Melbourne.

This seminar was part of our Sustainability Leadership Series and sought to build momentum for collective action on food security and sustainable agriculture post Rio +20.

Bringing together experts and practitioners from government, business, civil society, farmers’ organisations, research and academia, the seminar sought to provide a platform for shared learning and discussion on Australia’s role in addressing the global food security challenge and advancing sustainable agricultural practices.

It highlighted the challenges and opportunities that Australian government, businesses, and NGOs face as they contribute to developing and promoting sustainable food supply chains that increase food production, preserve natural resources and fight hunger at the local, national and global level.

Guest speakers
 

- Dr Graham Bonnett, Theme Leader, Advancing Agricultural productivity and Environmental Health, CSIRO Sustainable Agriculture Flagship
- Fran Murrell, Co-Founder, MADGE Australia, on behalf of Michael Croft, President, Australian Food Sovereignty Alliance & Fellow, Australian Rural Leadership Foundation
- Mick Keogh, Executive Director, Australian Farm Institute
- Jim Woodhill, Principal Sector Specialist, Food Security and Rural Development, AusAID

Facilitator

- Professor Timothy Reeves FTSE, international and national consultant on Sustainable Agricultural Intensification and Food Security in a changing Global Environment

Copies of the speakers' presentations are available on Slideshare.

Background

“In a world of plenty, no one, not a single person, should go hungry. But almost 1 billion still do not have enough to eat. I want to see an end to hunger everywhere within my lifetime.”
Ban Ki-moon, United Nations Secretary-General

“The quest for food security can be the common thread that links the different challenges we face and helps build a sustainable future.”
José Graziano da Silva, United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Director-General

According to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations, around 870 million people are chronically undernourished because they cannot access enough food to meet their daily nutritional requirements. Two–thirds of these people live in the Asia–Pacific region.

Climate change, scarce resources, food price volatility, trade barriers and a growing world population with changing diets, all affect our ability to meet our global food needs.

Food security, according to the FAO, is ‘when all people, at all times, have physical, social and economic access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food that meets their dietary needs and food preferences for an active and healthy life’. As such, achieving global food security requires addressing the three interrelated elements of physical availability of food, economic and physical access to food, and food utilisation.

At the Rio+20 Conference on Sustainable Development held in June 2012, United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon launched the Zero Hunger Challenge. Calling on governments, farmers, scientists, business, civil society and consumers to join hands to end hunger, the challenge has five objectives: 1) 100 percent access to food for all, all year round; 2) end to stunted growth among children under two because of a lack of nutrients during pregnancy and in the early days of life; 3) ensuring sustainable food systems; 4) doubling smallholder productivity and income; and 5) reduction in food loss, at the farmer level, through lack of suitable storage and reduction of waste of food by retailers and consumers.

Heads of States also acknowledged in the Conference’s outcome document, The Future We Want, that food security was a pressing global challenge that needed to be addressed by promoting and supporting more sustainable agriculture. The United Nations High Level Task Force on Global Food Security further pointed out that sustainable agriculture and food systems are key elements for a thriving Green Economy.

The food and agriculture sector is indeed central for hunger eradication and global food security, and offers key solutions for sustainable development.

For more information about the United Nations Zero Hunger Challenge download the brochure [PDF] or visit the website.

Join the conversation on Twitter by following @zerohunger or by using #zerohunger.

For more information about this seminar, please contact Emeline Suteau on 03 9670 7878 or via email.