PR 96/49 - NEW YORK MARATHONERS IN SUPPORT OF WFS


PR 96/49

NEW YORK MARATHONERS RUN IN SUPPORT OF SUMMIT TO END WORLD HUNGER

New York, 3 November-- Almost 30,000 runners in the 20th New York Marathon called today for a united stand against hunger, joining marathoners around the world to support the goals of the World Food Summit, which the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) will convene in Rome, Italy 13-17 November 1996. New York is one of 21 marathons supporting the Summit.

This year, Marathons in cities as far-flung as Rome, Durban and Machu Picchu in Peru came out in support of the World Food Summit, which will seek ways to ensure the most fundamental of human rights: freedom from hunger.

Marathon runners say that a healthy diet is essential to lead a productive life. This year, thousands of runners around the world have joined the race against hunger and malnutrition, signing the "Marathoners" Appeal for a United Stand Against Hunger."

The Appeal says: "We believe that the objectives of the Summit...can and should be promoted by everyone. Only by working together to find solutions can we ensure adequate access to food for all."

"It's our good fortune to run and at the same time give the right to all, not only to run, but simply to eat," wrote one person who signed the declaration of solidarity with the world's hungry.

Another wrote: "To end the greatest injustice of all time...hunger."

FAO estimates that one in seven people in the world go hungry every day. That's more than 800 million people, or the number of people in the United States and Europe. At least a quarter of those are believed to be small children, robbed of a productive future because of an insufficient and often poor quality diet.

Grain reserves are declining and staple foods cost more, pushing many people deeper into poverty. Over the next thirty years, global population is expected to rise by 3 billion. FAO estimates food production will have to increase by more that 75 percent to meet this demand. Achieving such a sustainable increase, while safe-guarding the often fragile environment, will require a coordinated international effort.

Meeting under the slogan "Food for All," the World Food Summit will be the first attempt ever to tackle the problem of food security at the level of Heads of State and Government. The Summit is expected to adopt a policy statement and a plan of action aimed at eradicating hunger.