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Press Release 97/51


Rome, October 19 - Television stations in about 60 countries were linking up on Sunday 19 October for the first TeleFood global telecast dedicated to the theme of "Food for All". Organized by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) in collaboration with the Italian broadcasting company RAI, TeleFood aims to involve people everywhere in the fight against hunger.

FAO Director-General Jacques Diouf says: "TeleFood has one major objective: to raise awareness of the scale of the problem and encourage solidarity in the fight against hunger. In addition we will also try to mobilize resources in some countries for practical projects and programmes to do something about it."

"Having enough to eat is the most basic of human rights. The fight against hunger is not an issue of charity; it is an issue of justice. Through TeleFood, we are looking for global solidarity and support in that fight," Dr. Diouf said.

At the heart of TeleFood is the global telecast produced by RAI 2 from 15.00 to 23.30, interrupted only by news and the sports programme "Domenica Sprint", available for relay by TV stations around the world via RAI International satellites. The first part of the programme in the afternoon was a special "Cronaca in Diretta" anchored by Danila Bonito devoted to the issues of world hunger and food security, with film reports, interviews and discussions and a special live link with Brazilian soccer star Ronaldo in Milan, as well as international entertainment. The second half of the programme was devoted to a gala concert at the Sala Nervi, Aula Paolo IV, in the Vatican, with a star cast headed by Italian singer Andrea Bocelli.

"It is important that people at all levels are made aware of the issues underlying food security and how they can contribute to its attainment," Dr Diouf said. "To achieve this objective, TeleFood needs the broad mobilization of governments, civil society and, not least, professional organizations, business enterprises and commercial firms as well as celebrities, artists and eminent personalities all over the world."

The TeleFood initiative was launched to coincide with World Food Day as part of FAO's follow-up to the 1996 World Food Summit in Rome, at which Heads of State and Government and senior officials from 186 countries agreed that today's total of more than 800 million hungry and malnourished people in the world, 200 million of them children under five, is intolerable and unacceptable. The Summit's Rome Declaration pledged to cut this total by more than half by the year 2015.

In a related "Food for All" initiative, more than 100 international celebrities from the worlds of entertainment, music, literature, sport and politics have signed an Appeal against World Hunger. Italian President Oscar Luigi Scalfaro has signed the Appeal and also agreed to lend his High Patronage to TeleFood, along with other Italian political leaders.

Dr Diouf has pledged that every dollar raised by the TeleFood appeal will go to providing practical support to rural people in developing countries both through FAO's Special Programme for Food Security and similar grassroots projects designed to help them grow more food and to protect themselves better against the vagaries of nature. No funds will be diverted to cover administrative costs. The whole operation will be subjected to independent external auditing.

Viewers holding credit cards who wish to make donations to TeleFood are able to do so by calling the Green Number 167001919 supplied by the Servizi Interbancari organization for holders of CartaSi, Eurocard/Mastercard and Visa cards. The line is in operation from 09.00 on October 19 to 24.00 on October 20. A special bank account, C/C N.2233445, has also been opened by the Banca Commerciale Italiana and payments will be channelled to this "FAO-TeleFood" account. The bank's branches were open specially from 14.30 to 23.30 on Sunday October 19 to receive donations.

Details of events and television programming in individual countries supporting TeleFood can be found on a special TeleFood Internet site linked to FAO's site:

The organization of TeleFood has been made possible thanks to the collaboration of RAI and the generous sponsorship of the Banca Commerciale Italiana, CartaSi, Telecom Italia, Poste Italiane, United Colors of Benetton, Pirelli, Sony Italia, Toyota, Ja-Zenchu and New Holland.


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