Migration and refugees were the focus on the first day of the UN General Assembly’s High Level Week at the UN Headquarters in New York. Here’s a recap of the World Food Programme at #UNGA.
This year, the 71st session of the UN General Assembly, the theme is “The Sustainable Development Goals: a universal push to transform our world”.
It is one year since the SDGs, or Global Goals, were endorsed and this year the World Food Programme is engaging world leaders at UNGA on how, together, we can achieve the goal of Zero Hunger.
On Monday, the UN held a summit on refugees and migrants, led by Secretary General Ban Ki-moon.
WFP welcomes this opportunity for meaningful commitments and prompt action towards more coordinated, humane and effective responses to refugee and migrant crises.
Each year, WFP supports more than 6 million refugees in 32 countries with food assistance — cash-based transfers where markets are functioning, and food stuffs (such as rice, oil fortified with Vitamin A, and beans) where they are not.
Self-Reliance for Refugees
In the afternoon, WFP co-hosted a side event on enhancing self-reliance in food security and nutrition in protracted refugee situations, together with the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), Denmark, the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan and the Republic of Uganda.
Joining in were representatives of governments, the UN and civil society. The dialogue focused on the imperative of transitioning from care and maintenance in refugee situations to equip and empower families to be able to provide more of their food and nutrition needs themselves.
“Food is a matter of life and death — especially for people on the run,” UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said at the event. “We have a moral obligation to help,” he emphasized.
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The World Food Programme’s Executive Director Ertharin Cousin shared the story of a Syrian man she met at a refugee camp in Jordan who was unhappy to receive Jordanian bread instead of the Syrian bread he and his family and many others in the camp were used to and preferred. The man said he was a baker before he became a refugee — that conversation helped spur a programme in which WFP now works with Syrian bakers in the camp to provide not only the right kind of bread, but livelihoods as well.
To coincide with the focus on refugees, WFP shared the stories of two families who fled South Sudan to find food and safety.
The first is the story of Michael Thon who escaped fighting by taking his family to Uganda. His story is part of our #IamSouthSudanese series.
The second is a video story about Apu Riang and his family who walked for two weeks, day and night, from South Sudan to Darfur to find food and safety.
Social Good Summit #2030NOW
The Riang family’s desperate journey was also screened at the Social Good Summit as part of a broad-ranging discussion with WFP’s Ertharin Cousin. The Summit is a two-day event held annually during UNGA Week that unites a dynamic community of global leaders and grassroots activists to discuss solutions for the greatest challenges of our time. This year’s theme, #2030NOW, asked the question, “What type of world do I want to live in by the year 2030?”.
WFP wants to bring many of the conversations at UNGA to a broader audience outside New York, so we’re sharing some of our events through Facebook Live. So, you can catch up on the Social Good Summit conversation here:
What Will You Do?
We all need to work together to achieve a world where no person goes hungry, where everyone has access to the nutrition they need to lead an active and healthy life. Zero Hunger and the other Global Goals can only be achieved if the whole world engages and acts.
Tomorrow we’ll be sharing Day Two’s highlights — stay tuned!