16 Oct 2003 -- Bangkok - Below are extracts from the address by HRH Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn, delivered on the ocassion of the Asia-Pacific regional observance of World Food Day 2003 in Bangkok on 16 October 2003.
In recent decades, countries in the region have made considerable socio-economic progress and significantly reduced the proportion of undernourished population. However, statistically, 60 percent of the 840 million hungry people in the world live in Asia-Pacific countries. The region has adequate supplies of food to feed everybody, yet FAO statistics shows that one person out of every six in the region is undernourished. In this setting, the World Food Day theme for the year 2003 World Food Day, Building an International Alliance Against Hunger, is of special significance to our region.
The problem is particularly acute in the case of children under five years and women, especially pregnant and nursing mothers. Many of them suffer from obvious signs of protein-energy and micronutrient deficiencies with long term adverse implications for their own lives as well as for the economic well-being of their countries. Undernourished women give birth to underweight babies who are likely to remain poorly nourished throughout childhood. They can be at risk of having reduced mental and physical abilities. Such children growing up with inadequate nutrition during adolescence and into adulthood are likely to have low productivity and contribute to perpetuation of the vicious cycle of malnutrition and poverty.
The world now enters the age of globalization. In this context, international alliance is the key to peace and prosperity. International communities, that is to say, governments, international organizations, international corporates and even individuals act as responsible members of the global society. They contribute technology, resources, innovative ideas and modalities of implementation to the common goal such as the fight against hunger. To foster this partnership, the host country or community must play a part of a good coordinator and should state the requirements in logical and understandable project proposals. After being provided with the financial and other provisions, progress reports are considered necessary. These documents are not only important for monitoring an assessment of the projects but they serve also as the sources of initiative for other communities which are in the same situation.
I would like to mention that in my work as an NGO, I have received assistance from FAO on many occasions since 1990 and I would like to thank the Organization for that.
The main responsibility for commitment of resources and mobilization of action lies with the national actors with the support of concerted international advocacy and action. This approach was duly recognized by more than 170 governments represented at the World Food Summit : five years later in 2002 through their declaration entitled International Alliance Against Hunger, which called for an urgent need to reinforce efforts of all concerned partners for the fulfillment of the 1996 Summit goals. We must pursue this Declaration bearing in mind that, in this battle against hunger, we can and must win.
More information at: