In the context of high levels of malnutrition facing the world due to wars, natural disasters and climate change, what is the signifciance of UN agencies and what role can they play? October 24 is designated as UN Day. Professor Swaminathan speaks about the relevance of this day.
The United Nations was established mainly to abolish wars and promote peace on Earth. Through its Security Council, it aims to promote human security. With a few exceptions the UN has proved to be a blessing in the area of promoting coalitions of countries committed to peace and abolition of nuclear weapons. What is now needed is the enlargement of the UN mandate to help in overcoming hunger and poverty. In 2000 BC the Roman Philosopher Seneca mentioned that a hungry person will not listen to religion or reason; since he needs food today. Where hunger rules, peace cannot prevail. Therefore, we need to strengthen the human wellbeing aspect of the UN through its specialised institutions like FAO, UNESCO, UNICEF and UNDP.
On this day, we should resolve to make the UN a powerful instrument for achieving not only peace in the military sense, but peace in the sense of human health and wellbeing. This will include attention and action in areas such as achieving zero hunger and control of communicable diseases which are now becoming serious and threaten human health and security.
M S Swaminathan Research Foundation (MSSRF) established in 1988 is a not-for-profit trust. MSSRF was envisioned and founded by Professor M S Swaminathan, agriculture scientist with proceeds from the First World Food Prize that he received in 1987.