Leyla Aliyeva attends event on World Food Day in Baku (PHOTO)

Leyla Aliyeva attends event on World Food Day in Baku  (PHOTO)

Baku, Azerbaijan, Oct. 27

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An event dedicated to the World Food Day has today been held in the Heydar Aliyev Center in Baku.

The event was organized by IDEA Public Union, the Ministry of Agriculture, the Ministry of Ecology and Natural Resources, as well as Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO).

Vice-President of the Heydar Aliyev Foundation, founder and head of IDEA Public Union, FAO Goodwill Ambassador Leyla Aliyeva attended the event.

"A day devoted to those in need and as well a great opportunity to draw global attention to the challenges of hunger and food security. The theme of this year’s food day covers two issues that I am especially sensitive about - both as FAO goodwill ambassador and as a passionate environmental activist, but more importantly as concerned global citizen," Leyla Aliyeva said, addressing the event.

"With the new reality of changing climate, we must fundamentally change the way we produce and consume food. Whether we like it or not, the world’s climate is changing. While the international community is making efforts to curb this process by cutting emissions, millions of people around the globe already suffer from its consequences," she said.

Aliyeva noted that unfortunately, it is mostly the poorest communities - people with least means to recover - that get hit the hardest by weather-related disasters, and this is becoming more and more common.

Aliyeva said that the adoption of the Paris Climate Agreement and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development last year was a crucial milestone.

"Nations have pledged to keep the temperature increase at below 2 degrees and achieve zero hunger by 2030," she said.

"Achieving resilience, productivity and sustainability in agriculture is absolutely vital if we want to ensure the food security of the gradually growing global population. This is especially critical now, when climate change tightens its grip on our ecosystem and rural populations. In this regard, it is essential that FAOs climate smart agriculture approach is universally embraced in order to transform and reorient agricultural systems. Although people all over the world are realizing that nature and its resources are limited, and cannot be taken for granted. We believe in more action, education, creativity and positive thinking," she said.

She went on to add that only knowledge can help to see the direct link between environmental degradation and human activity, and highlighting the urgency of matter.

"This is exactly why we launched IDEA (international dialogue for environmental action) campaign five years ago. During this period, we have achieved many positive results such as protecting endangered species of animals, planting 5 million trees, organizing science labs, lectures for students, schools and universities, exhibitions, publishing books and making documentaries," she said.

Leyla Aliyeva then spoke about the multi-dimensional Kura river delta-cleaning project.

"Today I would like to tell you more about one specific project that has a special relevance both to the topic of food security and to the environment. As our modest effort to contribute to the welfare of our marine environment as well as help the rural communities that depend on it, IDEA has recently launched the multi-dimensional Kura river delta-cleaning project. Why this project is so important? Well, let me start by saying that Kura stretches almost 1000 kilometers from our western borders to the Caspian Sea and ensures vital livelihood for people living along the river," Aliyeva said.

She went on to add that Kura river is considered the main spawn area for the Caspian sturgeon - one of the most ancient and rarest fish in the world.

"Meanwhile, during recent years, industrialization, lack of proper waste management, unsustainable tourism, unawareness of local communities and other factors led to increased pollution of the Kura river. Riverbanks especially near delta, are full of plastic, domestic waste and used gillnets. As a result, water quality and fish stocks in Kura and the Caspian Sea have decreased dramatically during the last decades. Our project will target to improve, fish stock, water quality and overall ecology, which will be beneficial for the environment and local population," Aliyeva noted.

She went on to say that as sad as it may sound in the 21st century, one out of nine people in the world suffer from malnutrition.

"Every day children in the developing world die from hunger. Hunger is the number one cause of death in the world, killing more than HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis combined, while more than third of food is thrown away globally each year. The global warming is making the situation with global food security even more uncertain. We must constantly be aware that each of us can make a difference in combating climate change by protecting the environment, living sustainable lifestyles, being ethical consumers and not wasting food," Leyla Aliyeva said.

"We must do it for the sake of hundreds of millions of people suffering from hunger and malnutrition and for our own sake. I strongly believe that with action, hope, believe kindness and love we can solve all the problems and create a brighter future and life,” she said.

Other speakers at the event included Minister of Ecology and Natural Resources Huseyngulu Baghirov, head of FAO's Partnership and Liaison Office in Azerbaijan Melek Cakmak and Director General of FAO Jose Graziano da Silva.

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