Director-General Jose Da-Silva of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation, FAO, has said that the international community is capable of changing the situation of migration so that it becomes a choice, not the last resort.
Da-Silva speaking in an interview on the occasion of World Food Day: “migration is one of the greatest challenges today.
“By tackling the issue at its roots – through hunger and poverty reduction, better livelihood opportunities, climate change adaptation methods, social protection and the sustainable use of natural resources – I am sure we can make migration a choice and not a last resort.”
The FAO chief stressed that investment in rural development could harness the potential of migration to support the development of displaced and host communities, lay the ground for long-term recovery and inclusive and sustainable growth.
“Three-quarters of the extreme poor live in rural areas and base their livelihoods on agriculture. Young people especially are leaving rural areas in their droves in search for a better life.
“They leave behind aging smallholders who are less likely to embrace technology and more likely to maintain the status quo, perpetuating rural poverty and poor working practices,” Da-Silva said.
He stressed that the international community should provide youth with necessary skills and resources, create new jobs and more opportunities, so that the rural areas will prosper and create alternatives to migration.
The FAO chief also pointed out that migration, which used to be an inevitable part of the development process, has become a phenomenon that threatens progress in achieving the so-called Zero Hunger objective, which means eradicating the hunger worldwide by 2030.
He noted that this year’s World Food Day slogan addressed the need to look into structural reasons behind migration as a step toward ensuring food security.
World Food Day is celebrated every year around the world on Oct. 16, commemorating the establishment of the FAO on October 16, 1945.
This year the event has adopted the theme “Change the future of migration. Invest in food security and rural development.”
Since 2015, Europe has been experiencing its worst migration crisis in recent history, struggling to accommodate hundreds of thousands of refugees and migrants fleeing Middle Eastern and North African countries.
The rest of the world has also experienced record levels of migration and forced displacement.
UN says between 2005 and 2015, the world’s war refugee population grew from 37 million to 65.3 million due to rising violence in the Middle East and North Africa.