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Water is Life. Water is Food. World Food Day 2023

World Food Day takes place each year on October 16th. This annual event is about raising worldwide awareness of hunger, and promoting action for the future of food, people, and the planet.

This year, World Food Day shines a spotlight on water as the foundation for life and food. The campaign aims to raise awareness about the importance of managing water wisely, as the availability of this precious resource is threatened by rapid population growth, urbanization, economic development, and climate change.

Today, 2.4 billion people live in water-stressed countries. Many are smallholder farmers who already struggle to meet their daily needs, particularly women, Indigenous Peoples, migrants, and refugees. World Food Day 2023 looks at solutions to produce more food with less water, while ensuring that water is distributed equally, our aquatic food systems are protected, and nobody is left behind.

We all have a role to play. Governments, the private sector, academia, farmers, civil society, and individuals need to work together for a food and water secure world.

Click here for a 1-minute video from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, celebrating World Food Day 2023 -- and here for eight actions you can take to save water.

Fulfilling the Promises of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights for Older Persons

"Ageing is a triumph of development. People are living longer because of better health care, nutrition, sanitation, education and economic well-being. Although an ageing world poses social and economic challenges, the right set of policies can equip individuals, families and societies to address these challenges and to reap the benefits. ... Older people are an asset, for their skills, talents, experiences, perspectives and resilience."  -- United Nations Population Fund

Seventy-five years ago, the United Nations General Assembly adopted the landmark Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the first document articulating the fundamental human rights that are meant to be universally protected. This year, International Day of Older Persons highlights the importance of protecting these rights for older persons, as well as sharing and learning from intergenerational models for the protection of global human rights.

Click here to read the UN Secretary General’s message for International Day of Older Persons 2023.

International Day of Awareness of Food Loss and Waste

Fully 30% of all food produced for human consumption is never eaten. Around 13% of food produced globally is lost during harvest, storage, or transport, while an estimated 17% is wasted in our households and in food service and retail.

The loss and waste of food can negatively impact food security and food availability, and contribute to increasing the cost of food. Food loss and waste also undermine the sustainability of our food systems. Producing uneaten food wastes a whole host of resources -- seeds, water, energy, land, fertilizer, hours of labour, financial capital -- and generates greenhouse gases at every stage, including when uneaten food decomposes in landfills. Taking action on this is critical in both building food security and fighting climate change.

Friday, September 29th is the International Day of Awareness of Food Loss and Waste. Mark this day by increasing your awareness of the issue and taking a look at what you can do to reduce food waste in your home and community.

Click here for 15 practical tips you can act on today.

We Must Make the Next Seven Years Count -- SDG Summit 2023

Unless we act now, the 2030 Agenda will become an epitaph for a world that might have been.” -- António Guterres Secretary-General, United Nations

The world is at the halfway point in progress towards the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) set in 2015. According to the recently released Global Sustainable Development Report 2023, the SDGs are far off track. Recent global crises have wiped out years of progress in a number of areas. Accelerated action is now needed to get back on track to reach the SDGs by 2030.

To that end, the 2023 Sustainable Development Goals Summit will take place on September 18 and 19 during the UN General Assembly high-level week in New York. At the Summit, world leaders will review the state of the SDGs implementation and forge a rescue plan to mobilize and accelerate progress. This is an opportunity for the world’s nations to reignite a sense of hope and enthusiasm for the 2030 Agenda and recommitment to its goals.

The Sustainable Development Goals Report 2023: Special Edition provides a powerful call to action, highlighting the existing gaps and urging the world to redouble its efforts. The report also emphasizes the potential for success through strong political will and the utilization of available technologies, resources, and knowledge. For a short and easy-to-follow overview of the main findings in the report, watch this 6-minute animated video.

It is possible to meet the Sustainable Development Goals, states a leading group of economic thinkers, scientists and changemakers.  The SDGs for All report, written for policy makers attending the SDG Summit, examines SDG progress in the light of five major turnarounds related to poverty, inequality, empowerment, food and energy, and offers solutions to meet the targets.

Improving Maternal Healthcare in Sierra Leone One Concrete Block at a Time

Women in Sierra Leone are breaking barriers to build a new maternity centre.  Sixty percent of the construction workers on site are women.

“It is for us, the women who will give birth here. That’s why we are putting in effort to build the hospital,” says Hawa Baryoh, 21, who works in quality control. “That is why you see plenty of women here,” she says proudly.

Click here to read more about this project and the difference it will make in maternal and neonatal health in Sierra Leone.

GRAN in the News!

Sandy Milakovic, GRAN Regional Leader for Ontario South/Southwest, was recently interviewed by Mississauga News about her volunteer work.  Sandy speaks about her involvement with GRAN and with the Stephen Lewis Foundation Grandmothers-to-Grandmothers group Oomama. In the interview, Sandy speaks to the current global hunger crisis and GRAN's Right to Food campaign.  Click here to read more.

Canada First Country to Contribute to New Global Biodiversity Framework Fund

“Biodiversity is the critical foundation of our well-being and the health of our planet. The new Global Biodiversity Framework Fund will play a key role in addressing biodiversity loss. It will address it in developing countries, where the impacts of nature loss are highest; it will address it in a gender-responsive manner, including through cross-sectoral partnerships; it will address it in collaboration with Indigenous Peoples, the original guardians of the lands and seas. Canada is making a significant contribution to this new fund and continuing to show our support for the GEF’s eight replenishment to ensure the protection of our planet’s biodiversity for generations to come.” -- Ahmed Hussen, Minister of International Development

Click here for more information about this initiative.

Closing the Gap between Surplus Food and Food Insecurity Across Canada

Founded in 2019 to fight hunger in the Greater Toronto Area, Be One to Give (B12Give) rescues surplus food from restaurants and businesses and redistributes it to local shelters and charities.  Since its inception, B12Give has diverted approximately 15,000 kilograms of food waste — enough to feed 25,000 people.  Click here to read more about B12Give and its mission to redistribute 100% of avoidable food waste across Canada by 2030.

World Refugee Day

Each year on June 20, the world celebrates the strength and courage of people who have been forced to flee their home country to escape conflict or persecution. This year, World Refugee Day focuses on the power of inclusion and solutions for refugees.

Including refugees in the communities where they have found safety after fleeing conflict and persecution is the most effective way to support them in restarting their lives and enable them to contribute to the countries hosting them. It’s also the best way to prepare them to return home and rebuild their countries, when conditions allow them to do so safely and voluntarily, or to thrive if they are resettled to another country.

"We Were Here" is an original documentary series produced by UNHCR (the UN Refugee Agency) and YouTube. In support of World Refugee Day, these short videos aim to challenge stereotypes and perceptions about refugees by focussing on what unites us rather than sets us apart - our shared passions.

Click here to access the video series.


Richer countries like Canada must deliver proactive aid says head of UN rural food agency

Rich countries need to get their priorities straight if they want to stop "massively" increasing their spending on reactive humanitarian aid, says Alvaro Lario, head of the UN’s International Fund for Agricultural Development.  He is urging Canada to consider tackling the root causes of some of the food crisis issues, rather than only trying to “put a Band-Aid on” regions facing conflicts over resources and forced migration.

"With the population growth we have, the trajectory is clear. So, unless you put some type of solution, in the form of much bigger investments and a much higher speed, we will end up in a much worse situation." 

Read more here.


Older Women Prevail in Landmark Climate Case

Apr 10, 2024

The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) ruled on Tuesday in favour of a group of more than 2000 older women from Switzerland who had argued that their government's inadequate efforts to combat... Read more