ROME, June 9 (Xinhua) -- The three United Nations food bodies based here were key forces in Tuesday's UN policy brief calling for "urgent action" to reduce the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the world's hungriest populations.
Rome is home to the UN's three main food bodies: the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the World Food Programme (WFP), and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD). All three played a central role in collecting and organizing the data that the policy brief on food security was based upon.
In the brief, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres noted that more than 820 million people in the world are hungry, despite the fact that the world produces enough food to feed everybody.
"Our food systems are failing and the COVID-19 pandemic is making things worse," Guterres wrote in the brief, which estimated that an additional 49 million people could fall into extreme poverty this year due to COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus.
According to FAO Director-General Qu Dongyu, the challenges highlighted by the brief are especially severe in areas most at risk before the coronavirus pandemic.
"We risk a looming food crisis unless measures are taken fast to protect the most vulnerable, keep the global agricultural supply chains alive, and mitigate the pandemic's impacts across the food system," Qu said.
According to Agnes Kalibata, the UN secretary-general's special envoy to the Food System Summit to take place next year, the pandemic is exaggerating problems that already existed in many areas.
"The COVID-19 pandemic is attacking us at every angle," Kalibata said. "It has exposed dangerous deficiencies in our food systems and actively threatens the lives and livelihoods of people around the world."
Next year's first Food System Summit is designed to tackle many of the issues highlighted in Tuesday's brief, including the reduction of hunger, the resolution of diet-related disease, and increasing awareness of global food challenges. Enditem