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FAO calls for joint efforts to meet the Zero Hunger Challenge

FAO Director-General addresses High Level Event in New York
Photo: ©UN

September 23: A hunger-free world is possible "within our lifetimes" if current development partnerships can be strengthened and expanded, declared FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva on Monday at the MDG Success: Accelerating Action and Partnering for Impact high-level forum at UN Headquarters in New York.

Hosted by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon, the forum aims to accelerate action on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by highlighting successful development partnerships and new initiatives, including the UN's Zero Hunger Challenge (launched in June 2012).

"The Zero Hunger Challenge calls for something new - something bold, but long overdue," remarked Mr. Graziano da Silva, who spoke on behalf of the UN SG's High Level Task Force on Global Food Security. "[The challenge marks] a decisive global commitment to end hunger; eliminate childhood stunting; make all food systems sustainable; eradicate rural poverty; and minimize food waste and losses."

To achieve these goals, however, mobilizing broad-based coalitions is essential, added the FAO Director-General. "Across the globe we have learned that real change only occurs when many social actors join forces in broad political movements."

With 820 days remaining until the world's 2015 MDG deadline, the day-long MDG Success event drew leaders from government, business, and civil society. Said Mr. Ban, "Success is within reach. When people work together, proven transformational change is possible in an accelerated time frame."

Indeed the MDGs represent the most effective global anti-poverty push in history, noted the UN Secretary-General, with numerous public-private partnerships producing "real, massive, and inspiring change". "Multi-stake holder parternships," he continued, "can be true game changers."

In addition to the Zero Hunger Hunger Challenge, Monday's MDG Success event show-cased other prominent UN Secretary-General initiatives including: Every Woman, Every Child; Sustainable Energy for All; Global Education First; Scaling up Nutrition; and the Call to Action on Sanitation. The UN General Assembly's annual General Debate begins tomorrow.

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