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Interview: China's role from recipient to donor in global food crises exemplary: WFP head
Last Updated: 2015-10-17 03:50 | Xinhua
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China's transition from being the organization's largest recipient in the 1980s to a key donor state today shows that trends can be successfully reversed, executive director of the United Nations' World Food Programme (WFP) Ertharin Cousin told Xinhua in an interview.

On the occasion of World Food Day on Friday, the WFP head said China plays an active role in sharing lessons learnt over two decades ago with countries in need of food assistance, adding: "China is a big part of the equation to helping the global community to achieve agenda 2030."

Adopted last month by UN member states, goal two of the post-2015 development agenda, known as Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), includes ending hunger and achieving food security by 2030 while improving nutrition and promoting sustainable agriculture.

With 795 million people going hungry in the world this year, Cousin stressed the importance of investing in agricultural development across the entire value chain.

She said the world must ensure that every child receives the necessary micronutrients in the first 1,000 days and make sure that school feeding programs are funded to keep girls in education.

"The challenge we have is ensuring access to nutritious food all year around for everybody in the world, wherever they are in the world," Cousin emphasized.

With many food crises not making the media headlines, she underscored China's pivotal role in assisting countries such as South Sudan, which recently received 5 million U.S. dollars of Chinese aid, and where WFP operations are often severely under funded. China has also provided other states such as Syria, Lesotho and the DPRK with critical food assistance.

"As long as there's food insecurity in the world, there can be no security in the world," Cousin iterated, highlighting the need to "integrate our work as a global community to ensure that we are bringing all the tools that are necessary to communities."

This entails cooperating on data compilation and analysis so as to predict the impact future weather patterns, for example, will have on vulnerable populations.

"This El Nino season in 2016 is the first time that we have collectively used data to drive disaster risk preparation activities across large swabs of countries," the WFP head noted, warning questions remain as to whether the necessary resources and funds will be raised.

Since taking up her position in 2012, Cousin said she "learnt that the people of the world are more generous than we usually give them credit for."

"Ending hunger by 2030 is not a pipedream but an achievable opportunity," she said.

"We live on a very small planet, each of us is interconnected and intertwined, and in order for any of us to continue to move forward it is going to require that the least of us can live life to their fullest potential as well," she stated.

Some 98 percent of the world's hungry live in developing nations, and figures show that 146 million children in developing countries are estimated to be underweight.

As many as 17 million children are born underweight every year due to inadequate and insufficient nutrition before and during pregnancy, WFP said.

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