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Eradication of poverty remains unfinished business of 20th century: Modi

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New Delhi: Addressing the 70th anniversary meeting of United Nations Economic and Social Council (UNECOSOC) by video link, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday said the eradication of poverty remains the greatest unfinished business of the 20th century and the most important unfulfilled objective of the United Nations.

Modi said the work of UNECOSOC – particularly the manner in which it advances the improvement in the human condition and ensures a life of dignity for all – is central to the overall agenda of the United Nations.

“But has the UNECOSOC managed to fulfil the expectations of our founders? While we have seen remarkable progress over these 70 years, eradication of poverty remains the greatest unfinished business of the 20th century. It is also the most important unfulfilled objective of the United Nations,” Modi said.

The prime minister said the 70th anniversary of UNECOSOC should be used to rejuvenate the council, to make it more action oriented, policy relevant and more responsive to the needs and aspirations of our people.

“In doing so, the guiding philosophy of the UNECOSOC must always be the welfare of the poorest of the poor, or ‘antyodaya’ in Indian thought,” the prime minister said.

The special meeting to mark the 70th anniversary of the council was held in New York.

Modi said UNECOSOC was a key pillar of the United Nations structure. “Its creation as a distinct part of the United Nations is a testimony to the centrality of development in the vision of the founders of the UN,” Modi said.

“To achieve a peaceful and prosperous world, we need to put in place, first and foremost, conditions for rapid socio-economic development; improvement in the human condition, and an end to hunger and deprivation,” he added.

Recalling India’s contribution to the creation of UNECOSOC, Modi said an eminent citizen of India, Arcot Ramaswamy Mudaliar, was a key architect of UNECOSOC and served as its first president at the inaugural session in 1946.

The prime minister said the 70th anniversary of the UNECOSOC could not have come at a more appropriate moment.

“The international community has just given to itself a new comprehensive vision of development. The ‘2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development’ presents a valuable opportunity for the UN system to rethink its role and purpose and make itself more effective.

It is now the responsibility of UNECOSOC to rise up to this challenge and contribute to making this agenda a success,” he said.

Modi said the developing world not only have to end poverty, it has to do so in a manner that is friendly to the planet and environment.

He said the developed countries face responsibilities to rapidly move their economies onto a sustainable path, follow sustainable lifestyles and assist developing countries with finance and technologies.

Modi said technology presents solutions that were unthinkable earlier and the challenge was to channelize the available resources and use technology to tackle the most urgent problems facing people.

“So long as there is poverty in the world, so long as our people, no matter in which country, remain deprived of basic human amenities, freedoms, rights and opportunities, the work of the UNECOSOC will not be complete,” he said. (IANS)(Photo: www.sankarshanthakur.com)

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World Hunger To Rise Due To Climate Change: WFP

The number of people suffering from hunger because of climate change-induced drought is rising particularly in Africa and Latin America.

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hunger, health care
Malnourished and displaced Somali children sit in a tent in their camp on the outskirts of Mogadishu, Somalia. VOA

The World Food Program warns climate change will have a devastating impact on agriculture and the ability of people to feed themselves. The WFP forecasts a huge increase in worldwide hunger unless action is taken to slow global warming.

The WFP warns progress in reducing global hunger is under threat by conflict and the increase in climate disasters. For the first time in several decades, the WFP reports the number of people suffering from chronic food shortages has risen.

This year, it says, 821 million people went to bed hungry, 11 million more than the previous year.

World Hunger, WFP
Gatdin Bol, 65, who fled fighting and now survives by eating fruit from the trees, sits under a tree in the town of Kandak, South Sudan. VOA

Gernot Laganda, WFP’s chief of Climate and Disaster Risk Reduction, notes the number of climate disasters has more than doubled since the early 1990s. He says extreme weather events are driving more people to flee their homes, leading to more hunger.

He told VOA the situation will get much worse as global temperatures rise.

“We are projecting that with a two-degree warmer world, we will have around 189 million people in a status of food insecurity more than today. And, if it is a four-degrees warmer world, which is possible if no action is taken, we are looking beyond one billion more. So, there is a very, very strong argument for early and decisive climate action,” said Laganda.

World Hunger, WFP
Faduma Hussein Yagoub, a polio sufferer, came with her family to Dadaab from Somalia. Her husband and two of her five young children died of hunger on the way. Despite the dangers thousands of refugees every week are making the journey, walking for weeks across the desert and braving attacks by armed robbers and wild animals:

Data from this year’s State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World report by six leading U.N. agencies show the bulk of losses and damages in food systems are due to drought and most of these disastrous events occur in Africa.

Also Read: Australia Rejects U.N. Climate Report, Continues Using Coal

Laganda says the number of people suffering from hunger because of climate change-induced drought is rising particularly in Africa and Latin America. He notes that until recently progress in Asia had led to a reduction in world hunger, but that trend has slowed markedly. (VOA)