Shenggen Fan receives Hunger Hero Award in Davos

January 24, 2014
by Rebecca Sullivan

The World Food Programme presented IFPRIDirector General Dr. Shenggen Fan with a Hunger Hero Award yesterday at the 2014 World Economic Forum Annual Meeting in Davos, Switzerland, in recognition of his commitment to and leadership in fighting hunger worldwide. Fellow award recipients included Sam Dryden, Senior Fellow at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and Marc Van Ameringen, Executive Director of the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition.

United Nations’ Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon announced the awards, describing Dr. Fan as a “true champion of the hungry and malnourished.” Sounding a call to action on the Zero Hunger Challenge, the Secretary-General signed the Zero Hunger Declaration and reaffirmed his commitment to sustainable food security and climate-smart agriculture moving forward.

Dr. Fan underscored the case for prioritizing hunger on the post-2015 development agenda. “Hunger is very costly,” he said. “Every year, we lose 2 to 3 percent of GDP, but addressing hunger has very high returns. For every dollar invested in addressing undernutrition or hunger, we have a $30 return. Where can you find that kind of investment? Addressing hunger and undernutrition is a moral issue, but it also makes economic sense.”

In moving beyond 2015, Dr. Fan presented an ambitious goal, a challenge for governments, civil society, and the international community to eradicate hunger and undernutrition by 2025.

Dr. Fan is in Davos as chair of the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council on Food and Nutrition Security, and also as a participant in a panel discussion on “Rethinking Global Food Security,” moderated by USAID administrator Dr. Rajiv Shah, along with other panelists, including Nigeria’s Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Dr. Akinwumi Ayodeji Adesina, DuPont Chair and Chief Executive Officer Ellen Kullman, and Group Chief Executive Officer of Swiss Reinsurance Company Ltd. Michel M. Liès.