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Press Release 01/86 C10


Rome, 8 November -- The heads of the three Rome-based international food agencies have warned that without "rapid progress towards eradicating hunger, global political and economic stability will be threatened, together with the sustainable use of the natural resources on which future world food supplies depend."

In a foreword to a special edition of the publication Working together - to fight hunger and poverty 2001, Ms. Catherine A. Bertini, Executive Director of the World Food Programme (WFP), Mr. Jacques Diouf, Director-General of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and Mr. Lennart Bage, President of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) said: "We believe that, in spite of initially slow progress, it is still possible to achieve the target of the World Food Summit of 1996 to reduce the number of hungry people by half by 2015."

"We deplore the lack of resources committed to reducing food insecurity and other manifestations of poverty, and the widening gap between rich and poor within and between nations," the heads of the UN agencies said.

"We see hunger largely as a problem created by people, but also solvable by people. Most of the solutions are well understood and can be implemented in every country, provided there is sufficient political will on the part of all concerned. We see hunger as both a cause and an effect of deep poverty: we believe that unless both hunger and poverty are banished, we cannot lay strong foundations. We subscribe to the principles of the 'Right to food'."

Working together portrays some of the many ways in which the three agencies have strengthened their partnership: it cites the FAO/WFP cooperation in helping Kosovars recover from the conflict; the joint FAO/IFAD initiative to boost the production of cassava; a joint FAO/WFP project to rehabilitate degraded areas in Yemen; FAO and WFP helping women and girls in wars and emergencies.

Since 1999, the number of beneficiaries reached by joint activities of FAO, IFAD and WFP has quadrupled to almost nine million people in all regions of the world, according to the UN agencies. There have been a total of 75 joint initiatives between FAO and IFAD, 65 between FAO and WFP and 7 between IFAD and WFP, according to the agencies.

In the same period, FAO and WFP carried out a total of 50 Joint Crop and Food Supply Assessment Missions to countries in need: 25 in Asia, 16 in Africa, 7 in Eastern Europe and 2 in Latin America.


For more information, contact Erwin Northoff, FAO Media Relations, (06) 5705 3105

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