PR 96/15 - WORLDWIDE MARATHONERS JOIN IN APPEAL AGAINST HUNGER


PR 96/15

MARATHONERS THROUGHOUT THE WORLD JOIN IN AN APPEAL AGAINST HUNGER

ROME, May 7 -- Marathoners on five continents have joined in the battle against hunger and malnutrition by giving their support to the goals of the World Food Summit.

Runners in marathons in Rome, Paris, New York, Bangkok and Finland to South Africa and Peru to Uganda have already or will soon give their endorsement to a "Marathoners' Appeal for a united stand against hunger."

The declaration calls on the Heads of State and Government who will attend the Summit in Rome, 13-17 November, "to address the world's most fundamental injustice: hunger."

"We believe that the objectives of the Summit, convened by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), can and should be promoted by everyone," the declaration says.

"Only by working together to find solutions can we ensure adequate access to food for all."

FAO estimates that some 800 million people in the developing world are chronically undernourished and that 200 million children under the age of five suffer from protein and energy deficiencies that can cripple their lives.

According to the Organizations estimates, food production will have to increase by more than 75 percent in a sustainable manner by the year 2030 when there will be three billion more people to feed than there are today.

The World Food Summit at FAO Headquarters will be the first attempt ever made to tackle the problem of food security at the highest leadership level.

Its slogan is "Food for All."

FAO Director-General Jacques Diouf, who proposed the Summit, said that leaders gathering in Rome will be asked to renew the global commitment to the fight against hunger and to agree on effective policies and strategies to deal with its root causes.

"It is unacceptable that hunger and malnutrition continue to diminish the human potential of near 20 percent of the people on earth in an age when we explore the planets and beyond," Dr. Diouf said.

At least a dozen marathons around the globe have agreed to promote the Summit, starting with the Romacity Marathon for FAO, which was run on 24 March.

Thousands of athletes and members of the public have registered their signatures in support of the Summit, and FAO has presented scrolls bearing the text of the appeal to the marathon winners. In the words of one of the marathoners signing: "Famine should be banished from the world."

In addition to the Rome event, marathons associated with the appeal include those in Paris, Trinidad & Tobago and Santiago, Chile, and others scheduled in Machu Picchu, Peru; Helsinki, Durban, Uganda's Bwindi National Park, New York and Bangkok.