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FAO NAMES GONG LI AND YOUSSOU N'DOUR  AS NEW AMBASSADORS; PREPARES FOR WORLD FOOD DAY 2000


Rome, 11 October , 2000 - Chinese actress Gong Li and Senegalese pop star Youssou N'Dour will be nominated as new Ambassadors of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). They will participate in the 2000 World Food Day Ceremony Monday October 16 at FAO's Rome headquarters to mark the anniversary of the founding of FAO. Also present will be the legendary South African singer Miriam Makeba, jazz singer Dee Dee Bridgewater and actress Gina Lollobrigida - named FAO Ambassadors last year.

The Ambassadors have expressed public support of FAO's fight against hunger in the world and called upon the public to help poor people of the world "break out of the vicious circle of chronic hunger and undernourishment."

This year's World Food Day theme, "A Millenium Free From Hunger" invokes both a vision and a challenge. The vision is to live in a world where everyone has enough to eat, every day. The challenge is to make the vision a reality. As the millenium dawns, around 800 million people are chronically hungry. Urgent action must be taken on many fronts, not only to provide food for the hungry, but to eliminate the causes of hunger worldwide.

On World Food Day, FAO will globally launch the second edition of "The State of Food Insecurity in the World 2000", reporting on recent progress made in the fight against hunger.

The Prime Minister of Barbados, Owen Seymour Arthur, Italian Minister of Agriculture Alfonso Pecoraro Scanio and FAO Director-General Jacques Diouf will address the October 16 ceremony. The Apostolic Nuncio and Permanent Observer of the Holy See to FAO, Archbishop Agostino Marchetto, will read a message from Pope John Paul II.

Later Mr. Scanio will open an international Round Table with participants from civil society. They will discuss the theme: "Food security: A challenge for Family Farming. Building Partnerships between Farmers and Society."

The Ambassadors will make an appeal in support of another World Food Day activity, TeleFood, an annual campaign of radio and TV broadcasts, concerts and other events. TeleFood is dedicated to increasing awareness of world hunger and appealing for international solidarity to finance specifically targeted grass-roots projects aimed at improving food security.

In his World Food Day message, Dr. Diouf emphasizes that "the scourges of hunger and poverty are morally unacceptable and have to be defeated. Hunger and chronic undernutrition diminish human life. The lack of physical or economic access to safe, nutritious and healthy food at all times leads to negative consequences for peoples and nations."

World Food Day was first observed by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization in 1981, to raise public awareness of the urgent need to find a lasting solution to the worldwide problem of hunger and malnutrition. It is held annually on October 16, the date FAO was founded in 1945 in Quebec City, Canada. Some 150 countries have planned a variety of local events to mark World Food Day and Telefood.

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For more information please contact .PierreAntonios, Media Officer, tel: 39 065705 3473; e-mail: Pierre.Antonios@fao.org or the FAO web site at: www.fao.org


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