Please note: This is an archived copy of the website.

Updated information on World Food Summit matters
can be found on the Monitoring Progress since the World Food Summit website.

Monitoring Progress since the World Food Summit

"The Rome Declaration calls upon us to reduce by half the number of chronically undernourished people on the Earth by the year 2015 .... If each of us gives his or her best I believe that we can meet and even exceed the target we have set for ourselves."
"We have the possibility to do it. We have the knowledge. We have the resources. And with the Rome Declaration and the Plan of Action, we've shown that we have the will."
H.E. Romano Prodi, President of the Council of Ministers of the Italian Republic and Chairman of the World Food Summit.
Dr. Jacques Diouf, Director-General of FAO

The World Food Summit was called in response to the continued existence of widespread undernutrition and growing concern about the capacity of agriculture to meet future food needs. In 1974, governments attending the World Food Conference had proclaimed that "every man, woman and child has the inalienable right to be free from hunger and malnutrition in order to develop their physical and mental faculties." The Conference had set as its goal the eradication of hunger, food insecurity and malnutrition within a decade. For many reasons, among them failures in policy making and funding, that goal had not been met. FAO estimated that unless progress was accelerated, there could still be some 680 million hungry people in the world by the year 2010, more than 250 million of whom would be in sub-Saharan Africa.

Against this background, the World Food Summit took place from 13 to 17 November 1996. This historic event, convened at FAO headquarters in Rome, comprised five days of meetings at the highest level with representatives from 185 countries and the European Community. The Summit brought together close to 10 000 participants, and provided a forum for debate on one of the most important issues facing world leaders in the new millennium - the imperative of eradicating hunger.

The adoption by 112 Heads or Deputy Heads of State and Government, and by over 70 high-level representatives from other countries, of the Rome Declaration on World Food Security and the World Food Summit Plan of Action, at a meeting which also saw the active involvement of representatives of inter-governmental and non-governmental organizations, among others, has helped to influence public opinion and has provided a framework for bringing about important changes in policies and programmes needed to achieve Food for All.

The objective of the Summit was to renew global commitment at the highest political level to eliminate hunger and malnutrition, and to achieve sustainable food security for all people. In any event, the high visibility of the Summit has raised awareness among decision-makers in the public and private sectors, in the media and with the public at large. It has also set the political, conceptual and technical blueprint for an ongoing effort to eradicate hunger in all countries with the target of reducing by half the number of undernourished people by no later than the year 2015.

The Rome Declaration sets forth seven commitments which lay the basis for achieving sustainable food security for all and the Plan of Action spells out the objectives and actions relevant for practical implementation of these seven commitments.