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H.E. Carlo Azeglio Ciampi, President of the Italian Republic (Original language Italian) - 10 June 2002

Mr Director-General,
Distinguished Delegates,
Ladies and Gentlemen.

I am conscious of the importance of opening the Proceedings of this World Food Summit in the presence of so many Heads of State and Government and the Secretary-General of the United Nations. In so doing, I extend to you all my heartfelt greetings along with a message of solidarity, hope and encouragement to adopt a programme with credible aims and means of implementation.

Global agricultural production feeds today a world population that is more than double that of half a century ago. The number of hungry people is decreasing steadily, yet too slowly. The international community will not have fulfilled its responsibilities until the problem of world hunger has been fully eradicated. Today, over a billion human beings are in the grip of hunger and poverty. The growth in population will mainly occur in the poorest countries. The livelihood, health and industriousness of one fifth of mankind will depend on a firm commitment on the part of us all. This Summit, originally not foreseen, has been prompted by the concern that the target set in the 1996 Rome Declaration may not be achieved.

This Summit can be considered to be a success only if it gives top priority to compliance with the commitments made in the 1996 Plan of Action, and if it sets a clear way forward by indicating resources, means and actions necessary to attain the objective of allowing access by everyone to sufficient and safe food.

We need concrete actions to achieve both the specific targets and the overall targets set out in the 1996 Rome Declaration and Plan of Action. Halving by the year 2015 the proportion of the world's hungry people would indeed indicate that mankind has achieved a high degree of civil conscientiousness.

Mr. Director-General, we must in the first place be fully aware of our past mistakes, and the more recent ones. Our conscience will not rest easily until our efforts succeed in creating the necessary conditions conducive to ensuring food security for all the inhabitants of the globe. We cannot isolate the issue of food. The value of this Summit is closely linked to its ability to join in the full range of already-existing international initiatives designed to combat poverty and foster development endeavours. Its success will be measured by the reliability of conclusions reached and inputs made, as well as by the credibility of commitments made and, above all, the timely implementation of programmes. To this end, we must track progress towards the targets set out through consistent monitoring to make sure that commitments are kept and that measures are implemented with flexibility.

Food security requires higher production, reliable crops, functioning infrastructures, as well as collection and distribution services. Productive agriculture requires sustainable use of arable lands, forests and mountain areas, soil conservation, careful management of water resources, and the preservation of livestock and fisheries. A sustainable agriculture that would secure resources for future generations goes hand in hand with safeguarding the environment. Man-induced environmental degradation affects an area larger than the United States and Canada combined. Desertification, the loss of biological diversity, and climate change seriously threaten further upheavals and disruptions of vital climatic and ecological balance. Every country must responsibly commit itself to the global issues related to safeguarding the environment. The European Union is proud to have ratified the Kyoto Protocol.

In the countries where most of the 800 million undernourished live, agriculture is carried out by poor farmers in rural villages. Farmers expect their work to produce an adequate standard of living and purchasing power for them. The main problem related to food, however, is how the world's poorest rural areas can earn a decent living and have decent working conditions, higher household incomes, as well as social, education and health services. A productive agricultural sector first of all requires secure land tenure. It also requires infrastructure, basic services, rural credit and, last but not least, competitive access to markets.

The current international trade environment penalizes agricultural produce through tariffs which, on average, are two or three times higher than the ones applied to other trade areas. These obstacles are to be removed, gradually but with determination.

Ladies and Gentlemen, adequate and healthy nutrition, along with basic health and education, is essential for human dignity and for the right of every human being to fully participate in civil society. Water scarcity and increasing desertification can be overcome. The quality and quantity of crops can significantly benefit from scientific progress achieved through the use of carefully tested biotechnologies and through systematic investment in training and research programmes. Improving the social and health conditions is possible, as is overcoming women's marginalization in society.

I am thinking of the 150 million children who have no schools – the tens of millions dying from contagious diseases, HIV/AIDS in particular. Villages and rural areas are the most defenseless and the worst affected. The leaders of the developing countries have the primary responsibility for the future of their Nations and citizens. A deeper commitment to peace, democracy, justice, economic and social reforms and good governance is vital to tackle poverty in rural areas. External and domestic conflicts add to the tragedy of violence, the senseless waste of resources so necessary for growth.

The cancellation of the foreign debts of the poorest countries is fundamental to fighting poverty in the world. The industrialized countries and the international financial institutions should reward those who act to foster democracy and good governance. I am renewing the appeal made in Monterrey to the entire creditor community to cancel all outstanding bilateral debts, including foreign financial trade debts for the poorest countries in their entirety. Italy also proposes a more substantial debt relief than that currently agreed at international level, as well as the possibility of receiving extraordinary relief in the event of natural disasters or serious humanitarian crises and to that end, the Italian Parliament has adopted specific measures. Along these same lines, in 1999 Italy already supported a new financial instrument from the International Monetary Fund: the Poverty Reduction and Growth Facility (PRGF).

The growing liberalization of world markets cannot occur on the basis of double standards. Opening markets to exports from developing countries is an essential complement to the general process of tariff removal. Both theory and practice show the overall benefits that international free trade brings to producers and consumers, exporters and importers.

Insufficient financing is one of the reasons for delays in attaining the targets set out in the 1996 Rome Declaration and Plan of Action. Gaining new impetus is the purpose of this Summit, and it is in this spirit that Italy is attending this event. In the meantime, the Italian Government has already contributed 50 million Euro to the new Special Trust Fund for Food Security and Food Safety.

Mr. Director-General, Ladies and Gentlemen, the international community and, above all the rural communities in the southern part of the world rely on the Food and Agriculture Organization, on the World Food Programme and on the International Fund for Agricultural Development, which were joined in 1994 by the main International Organization responsible for the preservation and enhancement of agro-biodiversity. Last year I hosted the Inauguration Ceremony of its Headquarters near Rome. We must acknowledge that farmers in developing countries contribute a great deal to safeguard agro-biodiversity in the world.

The activities carried out by the international organizations gathered here today are reference points for the international community's renewed commitment to agricultural rural development and food. Italy reaffirms its unrelenting support for this vital dimension of the United Nations now fully based in its capital. Italy will continue to ensure that Rome will increasingly be a link in the North-South dialogue. The future of our planet, the world equilibrium in the new century, and the need to achieve peace among peoples are to a large extent connected to the international community's ability to win the fight against poverty.

Hunger and malnutrition can only be eradicated through wellbalanced growth in agriculture and through the improvement of living conditions in rural areas. But there is only one framework for development. Debt relief, access to the northern markets and more substantial financial flows towards the south are top priority actions. In order for these actions to be effective, we need unity of purpose and concrete actions. The goal is ambitious, the task is not easy, but it is a just battle that we can win together.

H.E. Kofi Annan, Secretary-General of the United Nations - 10 June 2002

Prime Minister Berlusconi,
Heads of State and Government,
Director-General Diouf,
Ladies and Gentlemen.

At the World Food Summit here in Rome in 1996, the international community set the goal of cutting by half the number of hungry children, women and men by 2015. Nearly a third of that time has already passed and progress has been far too slow.

We have no time to waste if we are to reach our target, which is also, one of the Millennium Development Goals agreed by world leaders in September 2000.

Every day, more than 800 million people worldwide – among them 300 million children – suffer the gnawing pain of hunger and the diseases or disabilities caused by malnutrition. According to some estimates, as many as 24 000 people die every day as a result.

So, there is no point in making further promises today. This Summit must give renewed hope to those 800 million people by agreeing on concrete action.

There is no shortage of food on the planet. World production of grain alone is more than enough to meet the minimum nutritional needs of every child, woman and man. But while some countries produce more than they need to feed their people, others do not, and many of these cannot afford to import enough to make up the gap. Even more shamefully, the same happens within countries. There are countries which have enough food for their people and yet many of them go hungry.

Hunger and poverty are closely linked. Hunger perpetrates poverty, since it prevents people from realizing their potential and contributing to the progress of their societies. Hunger makes people more vulnerable to diseases. It leaves them weak and lethargic, reducing their ability to work and provide for their dependents. The same devastating cycle is repeated from generation to generation, and will continue to be so until we take effective action to break it.

We must break this cycle and reduce hunger and poverty over the long-term. About 70 percent of the hungry and poor of the developing world live in rural areas. Many of them are subsistence farmers or landless people seeking to sell their labour, who depend directly or indirectly on agriculture for their earnings.

We must improve agricultural productivity and standards of living in the countryside by helping small subsistence farmers and rural communities increase their incomes and improve the quantity and quality of locally available food. For that, we must give them greater access to land, credit and relevant technology and knowledge that would help them grow more resistant crops, and that would ensure plant and animal safety.

But success will also depend on developments beyond the farm gate, such as improvements in rural health care services and education and in rural infrastructure, which includes roads, supply of irrigation water and food safety management. Such improvements would also do much to stimulate private sector investments in downstream activities, such as food processing and marketing.

We must secure a central place for women, who play a critical role in agriculture in developing countries. They are involved in every stage of food production, working far longer hours than men, and are the key to ensuring that their families have adequate supplies of food.

Nowhere are strategies for sustainable agriculture and rural development more important than in Africa, where nearly 200 million people – 28 percent of the population – are chronically hungry. Indeed today, for the first time in a decade, several countries in the southern African region face a risk of outright famine over the coming months.

We must, therefore, bring all our innovative thinking to bear on helping Africa fight hunger. The African-owned and led New Partnership for Development must be supported as a potentially important tool in that fight.

We must also fulfil the promise given at last November's meeting of the World Trade Organization in Doha and make sure that the new round of trade negotiations removes the barriers to food imports from developing countries. For instance, the tariffs imposed on processed food, like chocolate, make it impossible for processing industries in developing countries to compete.

We must also evaluate carefully the impact of the subsides that are now given to producers in the rich countries. By lowering food prices in the poorest countries, they may help alleviate hunger in some cases and in the short-term only. But, dumping surpluses can also have devastating long-term effects - ranging from disincentives for national production to unemployment - while making it impossible for the developing countries to compete on the world market.

However, even if markets in developed countries were opened further, these countries would still need help to take advantage of these opportunities, especially in the agriculture sector. The application of some international norms and standards cannot be met without technical assistance and further investment.

The fight against hunger also depends on the sustainable management of natural resources and the ecosystems, which contribute to food production. With world population expected to reach well over seven billion by 2015, pressure on the environment will continue to mount. The challenge of the coming years is to produce enough food to meet the needs of one billion more people, while preserving the natural resource base on which the wellbeing of the present and future generations depends.

But the hungry poor also need direct help today. Food aid can make a big difference, both in emergencies and in situations of chronic hunger. Direct nutritional support to pregnant and nursing women helps their babies grow into healthy adults. School feeding programmes not only feed hungry children but also help to increase school attendance - and studies show that educated people are best able to break out of the cycle of poverty and hunger.

My dear friends, if we want to reverse the current trends and reduce hunger by 50 percent by the year 2015, we need a comprehensive and a coherent approach that addresses the multiple dimensions of hunger by pursuing simultaneously wider access to food and agricultural and rural development. We need an anti-hunger programme that could become a common framework around which global and national capacities to fight hunger can be mobilized.

We know that fighting hunger makes economic and social sense. It is a key step towards achieving all the development goals that we agreed to at the Millennium Summit. It is fitting, therefore, that this Summit comes in the middle of a crucial cycle of conferences aimed at helping us improve the lives of people everywhere - from trade in Doha, via the financing for development in Monterrey, to sustainable development in Johannesburg.

Hunger is one of the worst violations of human dignity. In a world of plenty, ending hunger is within our grasp. Failure to reach this goal should fill every one of us with shame. The time for making promises is over. It is time to act. It is time to do what we have long promised to do - eliminate hunger from the face of the earth.

His Eminence Cardinal Angelo Sodano, Secretary of State of the Holy See (Original language Italian) - 10 June 2002

Mr President of the Italian Republic
and Distinguished Heads of State and Government,
Mr Secretary-General of the United Nations
and Mr Director-General of the Food and Agriculture Organization,
Ladies and Gentlemen!

I am pleased to extend respectful and cordial greetings to each one of you, Representatives of almost every country in the world, gathered in Rome, a little more than five years after the 1996 World Food Summit.

Since I am unable to be among you personally on this solemn occasion, I have asked Cardinal Angelo Sodano, Secretary of State, to convey all my esteem and regard for the arduous work that you have to undertake in order to ensure that everyone has their daily bread.

I offer a special greeting to the President of the Italian Republic, and to all the Heads of State and Government who have come to Rome for this Summit. During my Pastoral Visits to various parts of the world, as well as at the Vatican, I have already had an opportunity to meet many of them personally: to all go my deferential best wishes for themselves and the Nations they represent.

I extend this greeting to the Secretary-General of the United Nations, as well as to the Director-General of the Food and Agriculture Organization and to the Heads of other International Organizations present at this meeting. The Holy See expects much from their efforts on behalf of humanity's material and spiritual progress.

I express the hope that the present World Food Summit will be crowned with success: this is what millions of men and women throughout the world expect.

The last Summit in 1996 had already established that hunger and malnutrition are not phenomena of a merely natural or structural nature, affecting only certain geographic areas, but are to be seen as the consequence of a more complex situation of underdevelopment resulting from human inertia and self-centeredness.

If the goals of the 1996 Summit have not been met, that can be attributed also to the absence of a culture of solidarity, and to international relations often shaped by a pragmatism devoid of ethical and moral foundations. Moreover, a cause for concern is to be found in the statistics according to which assistance given to poor countries in recent years appears to have decreased rather than increased.

Today more than ever there is an urgent need in international relationships for solidarity to become the criterion underlying all forms of cooperation, with the acknowledgment that the resources which God the Creator has entrusted to us are destined for all.

Of course, much is expected from the experts, whose task it is to point out when and how to increase agricultural resources, how to achieve better distribution of products, how to set up food security programmes, how to devise new techniques to boost harvests and increase herds.

The Preamble to the FAO Constitution itself proclaimed the commitment of each country to raise its level of nutrition and improve the conditions of its agriculture and of its rural population, in such a way as to increase production and secure an effective distribution of food supplies in all parts of the world.

These goals, however, involve a constant reconsideration of the relationship between the right to be freed from poverty and the duty of the whole human family to provide practical help to the needy.

For my part, I am pleased that the present World Food Summit is once more urging the various sectors of the international community, Governments and Intergovernmental Institutions, to make a commitment to somehow guarantee the right to nutrition in cases where an individual State is unable to do so because of its own underdevelopment and poverty. Such a commitment can be seen as entirely necessary and legitimate, given the fact that poverty and hunger risk compromising even the ordered coexistence of peoples and nations, and constitute a real threat to peace and international security.

Hence the importance of the present World Food Summit, with its reaffirmation of the concept of food security and its call for a mobilization of solidarity aimed at reducing by half, by the year 2015, the number of people in the world who are undernourished and deprived of the bare necessities of life.

This is an enormous challenge, and one to which the Church too is fully committed.

The Catholic Church is ever concerned for the promotion of human rights and the integral development of peoples, and will therefore continue to support all who work to ensure that every member of the human family receives adequate daily food. Her intimate vocation is to be close to the world's poor, and she hopes that everyone will become practically involved in speedily resolving this problem, one of the gravest facing the human family.

May the Almighty who is rich in mercy send his blessing upon each one of you, upon the work you do under the aegis of FAO, and upon all those who strive for the authentic progress of the human family.

John Paul pp. II
From the Vatican, 10 June 2002.

H.E. Jacques Diouf, Director-General of FAO (Original language French) – 10 June 2002

Your Eminence,

Thank you, Your Eminence, for bringing us the message of virtue and wisdom of His Holiness Pope John Paul II, who has always supported FAO in its efforts to secure bread for all: FIAT PANIS.

Mr President of the Italian Republic,
Mr Secretary-General of the UN,
Your Majesties,
Honourable Heads of State and Government,
Honourable Presidents of the Senate and the Chamber of Deputies,
Distinguished Ministers,
Mr Mayor of Rome,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

Let me begin by thanking the participants at this important international gathering for being with us today in Rome, in particular the Heads of State and Government who felt that the plight of the world's hungry was worth the sacrifice of a sometimes long and exhausting journey. I should also like to express my gratitude to the Italian Government without whom this conference could not have been held in such fine conditions. My appreciation, too, goes to all those who provided voluntary contributions to compensate for the absence of any budget for the Summit. Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen, at the moment of truth, six years after the World Food Summit of 1996, death continues to stalk the multitude of hungry on our planet. Promises have not been kept; worse, actions have contradicted words. A solemn commitment was made to reduce to 400 million, by 2015, the number of men and women who have to temper their hunger through restless sleep. Regrettably, the political will and financial resources have not equalled the mark of human solidarity.

There have been major international meetings in recent years, called to discuss economic and financial crises, money laundering and tax havens, clandestine immigration and the policing of frontiers, drug trafficking and terrorism, inequalities in information and technology development, but it was only last year in Genoa that, for the first time, a G8 Summit paid any attention to food security. The famines caused by drought, flooding and conflict quite rightly stir emotions and trigger waves of solidarity among public opinion. Chronic hunger, on the other hand, is only met with indifference, penalized for existing in silence and for not providing shock images on our television screens. Yet, it also degrades biologically and intellectually, excluding the undernourished from the opportunities of life.

Hunger weighs heavily on the economies of the countries it afflicts, causing an estimated one percent per year loss in rate of economic growth through reduced productivity and nutritional disease. Significant efforts have been made since the 1996 Summit to implement the decisions of the Heads of State and Government. National food security strategies have been prepared for 150 developing and transition countries. Agricultural trade strategies have been drawn up for regional economic organizations. A special programme for food security for small rural producers has been put into effect in 69 countries. A programme of prevention against transboundary animal and plant pests and diseases is under way. A programme to mobilize public opinion through the media and through personalities of the world of arts and culture has been in operation since 1997. Progress has also been made towards the realization of the right to food.

Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen, there have been many schools of economic thought in the past, but none has advocated development through reduced investment. Yet, from 1990 to 2000, concessional assistance from developed countries and loans from international financing institutions fell by 50 percent for agriculture, even though the source of employment and income, and thus the livelihood, of 70 percent of the world's poor.

As a result, the number of undernourished has only fallen by six million per year instead of the 22 million needed to attain the objective set in 1996. At this rate, the target will be met 45 years behind schedule. At the same time, the global market for agricultural commodities has continued to defy any notion of fairness. The OECD countries transfer more than 300 billion US dollars to their agricultural sectors, equivalent to directly supporting each farmer to the tune of 12 000 US dollars per year. In contrast, these same countries provide the developing countries with an estimated eight billion US dollars per year, which works out at six US dollars for each farmer. In addition, access to developed country markets is constrained by customs tariffs that average about 60 percent for primary agricultural commodities, against some four percent for industrial goods. Tariffs on processed agricultural products are even steeper, and are hindering the development of agro-industry in the Third World. If we also include sanitary and technical barriers, we can see how far we need to travel before achieving agricultural terms of trade that are less unfavourable to the poorest countries.

However, the Doha Development Agenda augurs well for change. Let us hope that the negotiations will have produced rules of fair competition in world agricultural trade by 2005. Eliminating hunger is a moral imperative that stems from the most basic of human rights, the right to exist. Living means breathing, drinking and eating. But eliminating hunger is also in the interest of the powerful and the asset holders. Just imagine the size of the market, if 800 million hungry people were turned into consumers with real purchasing power. And consider how much more peaceful the world would be without the poverty that fuels injustice and despair.

The societies of abundance of this new millennium have the resources and the technology to eliminate the insufferable spectre of cyclical famine and the inexorable deprivation of chronic hunger. In the broader perspective of eliminating poverty, programmes need to rest on the three pillars of food, health and education. We know how to fight hunger.

It means helping small farmers safeguard their crops against unpredictable weather, notably by controlling water, the source of life, by means of small water harnessing, irrigation and drainage works put in place with local labour. They need to be taught simple, inexpensive and more effective ways of increasing productivity, with the assistance of a critical mass of experts, especially experts working alongside them under South-South Cooperation. They require access to inputs and credit, and they need to be able to store and to sell their products.

In brief, they need to be helped to fish rather than be given fish. They therefore need employment and income that will ensure their sustainable welfare and their effective contribution to the national and global economy. There are conclusive examples of successful action against hunger from all continents, examples that need to be replicated for those not seated at the world's table. This will require an additional 24 billion US dollars in public expenditure each year. If we exclude loans on market terms and food aid, this means finding an additional public financing of 16 billion US dollars. The developing countries will have to increase their budget allocations to the rural sector by 20 percent to meet half this amount. The developed countries and the international financing institutions will have to provide the other half, raising the share of agriculture in their assistance to its level of 1990. They would at the same time be honouring the commitment they made at the Conference on Financing for Development to double their level of concessional aid.

The Anti-Hunger Programme was launched a few days ago and, in its preliminary form, will serve as a basis for work and dialogue among partners to mobilize the resources still needed. It is also a further contribution to yesterday's efforts in Monterrey to achieve the Millennium Development Goals and to tomorrow's efforts in Johannesburg. The mobilization of an international alliance against hunger would revive the essential political will required if the destiny of the world's hungry is to regain centre stage in the concerns and priorities of governments, parliaments, local authorities and civil society. Together we can overcome hunger - let us do so now, everywhere, through your dynamic solidarity and with your fervent support. Thank you for your kind attention.

H.E. Silvio Berlusconi, President of the Council of Ministers of the Italian Republic (Original language Italian) - 10 June 2002

I would like to thank the Assembly for having elected me to chair the World Food Summit: five years later. As the Secretary-General, Mr Kofi Annan, has already reminded us, six years ago in the Rome Declaration which was adopted at the World Food Summit, a clear and measurable target was set: to reduce by half the number of people suffering from malnutrition worldwide by the year 2015. Unfortunately this date is drawing ever closer, while the objective seems to be retreating increasingly further into the distance.

Yet all of us are convinced that the greatest good that all of us can have, from which all other goods flow, is freedom. Freedom in all its forms: political freedom, religious freedom, and economic freedom. But I also believe that the freedom to be shielded from hunger, to be liberated from hunger is the first of all our freedoms; a person who is hungry is not free. Being free from hunger is the basic right, without which all other freedoms, all other rights cannot even exist. And I believe that all of us are utterly convinced of this. It is an overarching truth, but we are all still doing too little to guarantee every citizen of the planet this fundamental right.

Even my own country - despite having done so much, as the President of the Republic recalled a short time ago - said "I must do much more" at the G8 Summit in Genoa, which I had the honour of chairing. We had to take note that each participating country was far from the target of 0.7 percent of GDP that we had pledged to devote to the developing countries. At the Genoa G8 we certainly moved forward by taking up the suggestion of the United Nations Secretary-General to launch the Global Fund to Fight AIDS. And as the Director-General, Mr Jacques Diouf, reminded us a short time ago, we acknowledged food security to be one of the three pillars of the development process, the other two being education and health. At the recent Barcelona European Council we resolved that the European countries should commit themselves in the coming four years to moving from the present 0.23 percent to 0.70 percent (for my part, I had proposed 0.42 percent, but we eventually agreed on 0.39 percent). As you can see, Mr Director-General, we are still a long way from that 1 percent that we agreed was the target to attain if we are to find the 16 billion US dollars that are still required.

As far as Italy is concerned, we have already allocated 100 million euros this year to implement an FAO programme in the countries that are in greatest need of food security and investment in agriculture. We are implementing a set of concrete projects based on know-how, expertise, skills and technological tools. We have also established an international school specifically for the purpose of training young people from developing countries in the study and protection of agrobiodiversity - an extraordinary and important resource for developing agricultural production in every country, whether for domestic or for external use through the marketing and export of products. With regard to bilateral relations with our debtor countries, as the President of the Italian Republic has just recalled, we are currently converting their debt into aid, with the realization of specific socioeconomic and environmental development projects, even though we are of course aware that this is not enough.

We know full well that more has to be done to help the developing countries to integrate into the virtuous circle of the global economy. I have repeated many times something that the whole world knows to be true: the leading industrialized countries must finally open up their markets. It is our responsibility as industrialized countries to see to it that no country is excluded from the global economy, for it is there alone that each country can find the best conditions for making the most of their human capital and their natural resources. The most effective and most sustainable form of solidarity that we can show to the developing countries is to remove the last vestiges of protectionism against them as far as we can.

Agriculture is the most striking case in point, but unfortunately a negative one. For the developed and the developing countries alike have all raised barriers against world trade in agricultural products. The result has been a net loss of wealth for all. But this result is particularly damaging to the developing countries, whose share of aggregate world agricultural exports has slumped sharply in the course of the past few years. This is why we must at all costs stick to the commitment made at Doha last November and remove the barriers that still prevent market access to the countries in greatest need of it. But I am personally quite convinced that the industrialized countries are ready to allocate material and moral resources in far greater volumes than they are giving at present to help those who need them, and I am ready to do so, in order to innovate, on condition that we also innovate the methods of financing and assistance.

It is indispensable to put in place more effective systems of intervention, with more concrete objectives and greater guarantees over the beneficiaries of these contributions. It is this that lies behind the proposal put by Italy to the G8, namely, to study a new model for the organization and management of government that will enable countries to advance by several decades along the path of modernity. This digital model applies to the civil service, public accounts and to the systems of taxation, land registration, statistics, justice, education and health care. We are convinced of the huge benefits to countries that adopt this model – which we call a universal model, but which can be tailored to the specific features of each country to safeguard national identities, culture and traditions.

First, budgets will be transparent and understandable; this, after all, is the policy being pursued by all international financing institutions with regard to aid to countries, beginning with the World Bank. Second, the adoption of this model will enhance democracy, guarantee the defence of basic human rights and hence provide rules and legislation, thereby ensuring genuine rule of law. Lastly, public administration will be more efficient, with more effective and useful services for business and private citizens. This is bound to give fresh impetus to development that is truly without borders. That is how I like to speak of globalization, as 'development without borders', because the term 'globalization' has recently acquired negative connotations, however unintentionally, with the anti-global movement. As I was saying, this model would launch development without borders, which would encourage the wealthy countries to give more and would deny them the alibi that they frequently use to justify their cuts in aid. This alibi is the uncertainty that exists over whether their aid actually gets through to the people in need or whether it ends up lining the pockets of the often corrupt ruling classes. This is the model that we are now shaping with the help of leading international consultancy firms, numerous multinational corporations, the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, a model that could be applied relatively swiftly by those interested.

We are moreover convinced that public aid provided by countries should be accompanied by private aid from its citizens. On occasion, Italy's television stations have urged viewers to help build a children's hospital, a school or a university. And I must say that the Italians have always responded to such appeals with great generosity. That is why we decided that we perhaps need to find a way to propose to the citizens of the industrialized world the implementation of projects in the poorer regions, getting them to feel involved and to make a tangible contribution to their implementation.

At the G8 in Canada, besides this universal model of State administration that I have just mentioned, we shall also be presenting draft legislation for adoption by the most industrialized countries. This is designed to encourage business associations in all countries to rally to the support of institutions working for the benefit of the poor countries, such as FAO and other such organizations.

Under this system, when a citizen of a wealthy country enters a shop to buy a luxury item, for example, he or she could allocate 1, 2 or 3 percent of the price to a specific project. It is our duty to encourage such acts of generosity, because those who have the good fortune to live in the affluent world have a specific obligation to help those who are less fortunate; they cannot pull back and, even less, refuse to respond positively and generously.

I truly believe that this universal model on which we are working can do a great deal to help transform the system of aid to developing countries and can enable us to attain that 1 percent needed to obtain those $16 billion US dollars that you consider necessary, Mr Director-General.

On this subject, the Genoa G8 envisaged three phases for implementation of this project. The first is the experimental phase, with the necessary financial assistance provided to those countries wishing to adopt the system. This phase could last two, three, or four years.

If the first phase produces the expected results, we can move into phase two, which envisages the mandatory adoption of this universal accounting system by countries requesting assistance. That would make it a genuine universal model of public accounts and management of government budgets in a world that, all things considered, already constitutes a single entity.

This could then be followed by a third phase during which the most industrialized countries could be asked to form partnerships with those countries that, for geographical, cultural or historical reasons, are closest to them, and to see to the realization of specific works in these areas. A former project of the Director-General, Mr Jacques Diouf, envisaged that towns and cities in western countries would twin with towns or villages in selected countries in order to implement particular programmes, while continuously monitoring the use of the funds allocated for the works. The wealthy countries will be more receptive, more willing to give, if they know that their assistance really produces tangible results. To government assistance, we could therefore add aid from private citizens. This universal model of government organization, which would employ new technologies and new means of communication and information, is of course a tentative project that we are launching.

Population studies indicate that in the next 25 years, the world's population will increase by 2 billion: virtually 2 billion people born and living in countries that are today excluded from prosperity. There will therefore be 6 billion people living under difficult conditions and a further 1.85 billion living in prosperity.

Unless we succeed in changing the present situation, just imagine the migration pressures in 25 years' time. September 11 will not compare and there is no doubt that the ideology of terror flourishes where there is poverty, hunger and despair. This, then, is what we are doing by trying with this initiative to make an additional contribution through this generous and courageous attempt by FAO and the other international institutions to solve the problems we know exist in the world.

I should like to conclude by reiterating the words of the United Nations Secretary-General: "The time for making promises is over. It is time to act. It is time to do what we have long promised to do - eliminate hunger from the face of the earth." I wholeheartedly endorse each word and state that we are here to do just that. Thank you for your attention.

Mr Walter Veltroni, Mayor of Rome (Original language Italian) - 10 June 2002

Ladies and Gentlemen,

One of the best known authors of the last century, Isaiah Berlin, said that men do not live solely to fight evil but in order to achieve positive goals. As Mayor of this City, I would like to welcome you here. Rome is very proud to be the Headquarters of FAO. As I was saying, we should take those words of the past into account. The struggle against hunger and poverty, which are the most unbearable scourges of this time, call for great patience. We need to make the necessary positive, concrete political choices to tackle these scourges. We need to ensure that the International Community can do more than it has done so far.

I can tell you quite clearly that here and now, at the level of Heads of State and Government, we see there are certain absences which are very noticeable for me indeed. It is absurd that the G-8 Meeting of wealthy countries does not provide the opportunity for poor people to participate. I think it even more absurd that when the poor people of the world meet, and they invite the wealthy, the wealthy do not come.

We need a new type of worldwide governance. In order to have such governance, we must open up new paths. We need to do what is required in the United Nations to give greater powers, greater strength for this to succeed. We need to increase the scope of the G-8 Meetings and extend invitations for representatives of developing areas of the world to attend them. It is no longer possible to take certain decisions without the representation of the poorest peoples of the world. We need to move very quickly because hunger, struggles and civil strife cannot wait for these decisions.

Millions of people die every year because they do not have enough to eat or because they are killed in civil strife or as a result of the HIV/AIDS or other diseases, such as malaria in Africa. The same holds true in other poor areas of the world where people suffer serious poverty and subsist on less than one dollar a day.

We have over a billion people who are suffering from a lack of drinking water. A hundred million people are suffering from lack of water, or they do not have access to agricultural land, or they do not have tools to farm the land, or they do not have hospitals. There are 30 thousand babies dying every day for reasons that could be prevented. Behind these figures is the iniquitous system which marginalizes people and results in resources not being provided for the people who need them. In the West, it is not just a question of quoting these figures; we have to realize it is a very serious moral problem. Our community is one which has to take into account the destiny of the world. The drama in developing countries is one which affects all countries, even the most cynical and most selfish people of the world. In many African countries, life expectancy is half of what it is in western countries, and this is where we find the reasons for immigration. What we want to ensure for these people is the hope that their children will live twice as long. We want to give them cause for hope. There are poor people who have suffered from immigration. The struggle against hunger is the best remedy to avoid immigration, which is frightening people in developed countries.

With regard to the development of our countries, as noted by Mr. Ciampi this morning, in order for things to get moving again, the debt question must be tackled. What we need to do is ensure that debts are fully forgiven in order to release those financial resources that can be used to build hospitals, schools and so on. It is not a question of buying weapons; what we want to do is to ensure that there is a complete embargo on the sale of weapons, even on the sale of light weapons. Debt forgiveness is not an alibi for development assistance to stop, as Mr Berlusconi said. We want to observe the principles established by the United Nations in accordance with the Council of Europe last year. We have to increase the resources being allocated to developing countries. This is something which I would like to insist upon because I am speaking as Mayor of one of the 25 cities of the world that have committed themselves to ensure that these goals are achieved.

The European Union has played a very important role by taking up this challenge. This is part of Europe's identity, and I believe it is in the new European Constitution. We should include our mission in the first part of the Constitution. We also have to take into account the 300 million European people who will commit themselves to combat hunger and poverty in the world and to ensure there is access to water, land and other resources. This has to be provided for all developing countries throughout the world. We will need to work as a team, in conjunction with the intergovernmental institutions, non-governmental organizations, civil society organizations and so on. We need this broad alliance, and we need to voice this message which we drafted during the first Conference that took place only a month ago.

There are a number of Mayors who are involved in defining programmes to provide assistance to developing countries. It is in this context, as a sign of decentralized cooperation, that the Association of Italian Communes has launched an Open Letter committing itself to support the environment and ensuring that it is sustainably developed. This is something which was agreed in FAO last December. I can also announce that in association with FAO and through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the City of Rome has drawn up terms of cooperation with the Sahelian countries. This is also being done within the context of the various fora concerned, and with the assistance of the Mayors who attended the meeting in Rome. Only if we adopt such an approach can we hope to benefit from the fruits of this World Food Summit: five years later. It is all part and parcel of an historical aim to struggle forward. Our success will serve as the focal point of the activities of this century.

The Twentieth Century witnessed Auschwitz. In this new Century, we trust things will take a better turn. There was no Summit of this nature at that time, nor were there television networks, to enable people to know what was happening in the concentration camps. Now we know that children are dying every day from malaria and other diseases. No one can turn his back on this reality. We are informed of happenings in the world, and we know what is happening regarding poverty and hunger. The struggle against poverty and hunger and its abolition should be one of our principal aims. It depends on us to take the necessary actions to achieve our goal.

H.E. Aziz Mekouar, Independent Chairman of the FAO Council (Original language French) - 10 June 2002

Mr President of the Council of Ministers of the Italian Republic,
Mr Secretary-General of United Nations,
Your Majesties,
Distinguished Heads of State and Government,
Distinguished Ministers,
Honourable Heads of Delegation,
Mr Director-General of FAO,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is a great honour for me to address this World Food Summit: five years later. I am convinced that under your wise chairmanship, and thanks to the political will of the numerous leaders gathered here today, a powerful message will be sent out to the world, putting into practice the commitment and determination of all to combat one of the most serious anomalies of our age - the coexistence of hunger and the availability of sufficient food. As you have said, Mr Chairman, the process which has led us to adopt today's Declaration entitled "International Alliance Against Hunger" began in November 2000 when the Council requested the convening of the World Food Summit: five years later.

In so doing, the Council recognized that, at the current pace, it would not be possible to achieve the target set by the World Food Summit and that a political meeting at the highest level was needed if the number of people suffering from undernutrition was to be cut by one-half by 2015 at the latest. During this process, the top-ranking participants would also examine the reasons why this goal seemed so elusive. It was generally agreed that the situation could only be redressed if the political will existed and if the necessary resources were mobilized. It was therefore natural for the Council to ask the Committee on World Food Security (CFS) to study the underlying issue at its May 2001 Session, and to see how to set about addressing it. This is what the CFS did at its May 2001 Session, and it was on the basis of its conclusions and recommendations that the Council set up the Open-Ended Working Group which, after several days of intense negotiations, drafted the text that you have adopted today.

I should like to pay special tribute to the Chairman of the CFS and to the Co-Chairman of the Working Group whose tireless efforts from the outset and throughout last week have made it possible to achieve such satisfactory results which, as you yourself have pointed out, Mr Chairman, have been laid before the Summit today.

Your Majesties, Distinguished Presidents, Distinguished Ministers, Honourable Heads of Delegation, you have seen fit to appoint FAO, with its wealth of know-how, experience and expertise, as one of the instruments for the successful implementation of the Programme and Action Plan that you have adopted. The FAO Council that I have the honour of chairing will spare no effort in helping carry out your instructions set out in the Declaration that you have adopted and whose very title "International Alliance against Hunger" indicates just how strong our determination is to eradicate, once and for all, something that can no longer be tolerated: the hunger and the poverty of human beings.

Mr Adisak Sreesunpagit, Chairperson of the Committee on World Food Security - 10 June 2002

Mr Chairman,
Distinguished Delegates,

I consider it a great honour to address this assembly as the recentlyappointed Chairman of the Committee on World Food Security. Although the Committee has been working for four days on the recent meetings, I will not use much of the time of the assembly on my statement.

I would like to recall that the Committee on World Food Security played a crucial role in the preparations of the World Food Summit five years ago, and has actively worked to monitor implementation of the World Food Summit Plan of Action in these years since then. It was in the context of this monitoring work that the Committee's preoccupation grew. The World Food Summit: five years later provided the opportunity to give new impetus to the deliberate action, to the search for solutions to the problem of hunger and food insecurity. The Committee was, therefore, pleased to contribute to making the final arrangements for the World Food Summit: five years later at its session during the past few days. This included reconvening the Open- Ended Working Group established by the Council last year, and making the final arrangements for the Declaration that has now been adopted.

Mr Chairman, Excellencies, Distinguished Delegates, I share the pride of the Committee for this work and would like to thank the Independent Chairman of the Council and my predecessor as Chair of the Committee on World Food Security, Mr Aidan O'Driscoll, and his able Co-chair, Ambassador Mary Margaret Muchada, for together having guided the Open- Ended Working Group to the successful conclusion we are witnessing today.

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