Press Release 01/46
PRIOR TO HIS MEETING WITH THE G8
DIOUF: "WILL THE WORLD CONTINUE TO WATCH THE HUNGRY PEOPLE DIE SILENTLY?"
Rome, 19 July 2001.- "Will the world continue to watch the hungry people
of the world die silently?" said Jacques Diouf, Director-General of the UN
Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), in a news conference prior to his
meeting with the G8 in Genoa.
Dr. Diouf called on all concerned, particularly the G8 countries, to contribute
to a Trust Fund for Food Security with an initial amount of US$ 500 million
to support agriculture in developing countries. "This amount is necessary
to accelerate the process towards the goal set by the 1996 World Food Summit
--cutting by half the number of hungry by 2015," he said.
"My hope is that G-8 countries will support the Trust Fund recently established.
Contributions are voluntary and the Fund is also open to developing countries
willing to join in this collective effort. We expect contributions from the
private sector, from NGOs, from individuals as well. US$ 500 million is not
a large amount." He observed that the total lending to agriculture and rural
development by the World Bank and Regional Financial Institutions amounted
to US$3.5 billion in 1999 while OECD countries spent around US$ 361 billion
over the same period on supporting their farmers.
He added: "The poor and the developing countries are tired of declarations
that are not followed by action. Resources from donors and major financial
institutions have been dwindling over the last five years. How can we achieve
the World Food Summit goal with fewer resources? The World Food Summit; five
years later, scheduled for 5-9 November this year in Rome will raise political
concern on the issue of hunger at the highest level and will help to refocus
priority on fighting hunger."
"I am happy that the G8, for the first time, will discuss food security in
Genoa. There is a need to reallocate priority to hunger in the fight against
poverty because 70 per cent of poor people live in rural areas," the head
of the UN food agency said.
Dr. Diouf pointed out that "the meeting of 53 African Heads of States last
week in Lusaka sent a message to the G8 leaders asking them to participate
personally in the World Food Summit: five years later and also appealing
to them to contribute generously to the Trust Fund to support agriculture
in developing countries."
The FAO Director-General indicated that more resources and mechanisms, including
the Trust Fund, are needed "to help poor countries help themselves" by producing
their own food. More investment in agriculture is needed. With increased
resources, FAO will assist governments in creating a policy environment
favourable to increased investment in agriculture."
Finally Dr. Diouf said that the current awareness of the risks of globalization
are positive because they focus the attention of the world on the needs of
For further information please contact Media Relations Officer John Riddle
FAO sets up trust fund
for food security
World Food Summit: five years
In a Press Conference at FAO HQs, on 19 July 2001, before heading to Genoa
for the G8 Summit, Director-General of FAO, Mr. Jacques Diouf said he will
be at the side of the 824 million silent hungry and make sure their voices
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