Pope Francis urges action on climate change and conflict to address migration
"It is clear that wars and climatic change are a cause of hunger, so let's not present it as if hunger is an incurable disease," the pontiff said during his key note address.
He called for a total commitment to gradual and systematic disarmament, and urged a change to lifestyles, the use of resources and the production and consumption of food to protect the planet.
In reference to the development of the Global Pact for Safe, Regular and Orderly Migration - the first agreement of its kind negotiated by governments under the auspices of the UN - he said, "Managing human mobility requires a coordinated, systematic intergovernmental action in line with existing international norms, and full of love and intelligence".
"What is at stake is the credibility of the whole international system," he added.
He also said it was unfortunate that "some" countries are moving away from the Paris Agreement on climate change.
Each year millions of people leave their homes to escape hunger, poverty and conflict.
"More and more people migrate because they do not have the option to remain in their homes and lands," said FAO Director-General Jose Graziano da Silva.
"It is our intention to address the root causes of migration, such as poverty, food insecurity, inequality, unemployment and lack of social protection. To save lives, we need to rebuild the environment in which people live, reinforcing their resilience and ensuring their livelihoods to offer them the possibility of a dignified way of life," he said.
World Food Day is being marked this year as global hunger rises for the first time in over a decade, affecting 815 million people or 11 per cent of the global population. The increase is largely due to the proliferation of violent conflicts and climate-related shocks which are also major drivers of distress migration.
Madagascar President Hery Martial Rakotoarimanana Rajaonarimampianina, whose country is facing the impacts of climate change, also spoke at the event.
"Young men and women are the most affected by (climate change-related) population displacements. If we want to change the paradigm of migration, we need to find solutions in the countries of origin," he said.
FAO believes that migration should be a choice, not a necessity, and FAO is working with partners and communities around the world to give people back that choice.
Between 2008 and 2015, an average of 26.4 million people were displaced annually by climate or weather-related disasters alone. In total, there are currently an estimated 244 million international migrants, 40% more than in the year 2000. A large share of these migrants come from rural areas where more than three quarters of the world's poor depend on agriculture and natural resource-based livelihoods.
These large movements of people present complex challenges that require humanitarian and development solutions. Many of the triggers that cause people to migrate can be addressed by investing in rural development, supporting decent rural employment and ensuring social safety nets. This work also contributes to achieving the Sustainable Development Goal of Zero Hunger by 2030.