The 193-member United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) has declared the year 2023 as the International Year of Millets after the India-sponsored resolution was adopted by consensus and supported by over 70 nations at the assembly on Wednesday.
“Delighted that Indian sponsored @UN resolution on ‘International Year of Millets 2023’ was adopted by consensus in #UNGA this morning. Big step to promote nutritional and ecological benefits of #millets to the world as a key component of food basket and effect policy changes,” India’s Permanent Representative to the UN Ambassador T S Tirumurti tweeted on Wednesday.
Tirumurti also expressed gratitude to all co-sponsors of the resolution, especially Bangladesh, Kenya, Nepal, Nigeria, Russia and Senegal, “and all Member States of @UN for their strong support!”
The unanimously adopted resolution, initiated by India, was co-sponsored by over 70 countries. India’s Permanent Mission to the UN also distributed savory millet snack “murukku” to all UN Member States.
Objectives: The resolution declares the year 2023 as the International Year of Millets and invites all Member States, the UN and other global organisations to observe the International Year through activities “aimed at raising awareness of and directing policy attention to the nutritional and health benefits of millet consumption and their suitability for cultivation under adverse and changing climatic conditions, while also directing policy attention to improving value chain efficiencies.”
The resolution considers the “urgent need to raise awareness of the climate-resilient and nutritional benefits of millets and to advocate for diversified, balanced and healthy diets through the increased sustainable production and consumption of millets.”
It also recognises the vast “genetic diversity” of millets and their adaptive capacities to a range of production environments.
UN Decade of Action on Nutrition: In April 2016, the UN General Assembly had proclaimed the UN Decade of Action on Nutrition from 2016 to 2025, recognising the need to eradicate hunger and prevent all forms of malnutrition worldwide.
The Decade of Action on Nutrition provides an “umbrella for a wide group of actors to work together to address these and other pressing nutrition issues.”
Recalling this, the UNGA resolution on International Year of Millets underscores “the need to promote sustainable food systems that foster diversified, balanced and healthy diets that include a variety of foods.” The resolution invites the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN to facilitate the implementation of the international year.