World Food Day

Press Statement
John Kerry
Secretary of State
Washington, DC
October 16, 2014

On World Food Day, the United States reaffirms our commitment to the fight against poverty, hunger, and under-nutrition – and to addressing one of the greatest threats to food security: climate change.

Today more than 800 million people around the world are chronically undernourished. By 2050, the global population is expected to increase by 2 to 3 billion people. That means agricultural production will need to increase by sixty percent if there’s any hope of meeting the increased demand.

And at the same time, the impacts of climate change to both land and ocean resources could slow global food production for the rest of the century.

The nexus between climate change and food security is undeniable. And it’s nothing new. I remember discussing this intersection more than two decades ago, when I attended the Earth Summit in Rio as a U.S. Senator. So today, as the threat of climate change continues to grow – and as more and more regions around the world are experiencing historic droughts, extreme weather, and, consequently, serious food shortages – addressing this nexus, staving off the worst impacts of climate change, and improving food security around the world must be a global priority.

As Secretary of State, I want these issues front and center in our foreign policy. That’s why I brought my longtime colleague, Dr. Nancy Stetson, to the State Department – to make sure we’re doing everything we can to combat hunger and advance global food security. I’ve seen firsthand her ability to break down global challenges like malaria and AIDS that are very complex and multi-layered, and find new ways to tackle them. With her on board, and with the help of her terrific team at State and throughout the U.S. government, I’m confident we’ll be able to improve food security in every corner of the globe.

We’re already making progress. Last year, our Feed the Future initiative helped nourish more than 12.5 million children and brought improved technologies to nearly seven million food producers. In June, I hosted the Our Ocean conference to prompt urgent actions to confront the threats to global ocean resources. Last month, we also helped launch the Global Alliance for Climate-Smart Agriculture to bring governments, businesses, civil society, and others together to empower farmers and fishers to adapt to climate change and mitigate greenhouse gases – all while sustainably increasing agricultural production.

There’s no question that the challenges to global food security are significant, but so is our capacity to meet them. The United States will continue to advance creative solutions to food insecurity, under-nutrition, and climate change, so that people everywhere can develop to their fullest potential and live the strong, healthy lives they deserve – and so their countries can be prosperous and peaceful.