One of the winners of a major new international peace award on Friday urged global leaders to invest more heavily in aquaculture to address the rapidly growing challenge of hunger in developing countries.
In accepting the first-ever Sunhak Peace Prize, Indian fisheries scientist Dr. M. Vijay Gupta told a prestigious gathering of leaders in Seoul, South Korea, that hunger already affects 800 million people worldwide and that number could rise sharply absent significant improvements in food production in developing countries.
“It has been estimated by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations that to meet the demand of increasing population by 2050, we need to increase food production by 60 percent globally, [and] by 90 percent to 100 percent in developing countries,” he told the audience, according to remarks prepared for delivery.
“The enormity of the situation can be further gauged from the fact that more food has to be produced in the next 35 years than what was produced in the last 8,000 years,” he said.
Mr. Gupta was selected as one of two winners of the 2015 prize, worth $1 million, for creating an aquaculture system tailored to poor, rural populations in Asia, Africa and the Pacific. His methods have allowed communities to feed themselves and empower women by teaching them how to raise and harvest the fish.
He told the award ceremony audience that expanding the aquaculture movement — known in global circles as the Blue Revolution — was essential to meeting the future food demands of the world.
“Blue Revolution is in its early stages, and much more needs to be done if it is to contribute to food and nutritional security and improve the livelihoods of millions of rural poor. For this to happen, countries need appropriate strategies, development plans and allocation of adequate resources,” Mr. Gupta argued, according to his prepared transcript.
The second winner of the prize, Anote Tong, is the president of the tiny Pacific island of Kiribati, which scientists predict one day may be erased by rising ocean waters blamed on climate change.
According to remarks prepared for his acceptance speech, Mr. Tong urged global leaders to take more rapid action to address climate change.
“Our islands, our homes may no longer be habitable or for that matter exist within this century. The future of our children, our grandchildren and their children is at stake,” he said. “For my people and my nation, along with my fellow small island atoll nations, we can no longer afford to wait until the world makes a decision on what actions to take against climate change.”
The Sunhak Peace Prize was unveiled earlier this year to recognize and empower innovations in human development, conflict resolution and ecological conservation.
It was proposed by Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon several months after the passing in 2012 of her husband, Rev. Dr. Sun Myung Moon, the founder of the Unification Church and The Washington Times.
Sunhak Peace Prize Committee Chairman Dr. Il Sik Hong told the audience that unlike other prizes that celebrate past accomplishment the new award was designed to lean into the future, seeking to highlight solutions for the world’s most pressing challenges.
“It does not confine the concept of peace to just the present or the past, but extends it well into the future to open new horizons of peace,” he said. “This also serves to awaken our moral responsibility as to the reason why we need to prepare peace for future generations.”