WORLD FOOD SUMMIT: FIVE YEARS LATER
Closing Statement by the Director-General
Rome, 13 June 2002
Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen
I must begin by thanking you for having come to this occasion in such numbers and with such motivation.
Despite your heavy responsibilities, you found the time to participate in this meeting so that 800 million people throughout the world might regain hope for a better future. Very many Heads of State and Government, Deputy Prime Ministers, Ministers and Representatives of Nations came here to work together, in the spirit of universal solidarity that characterizes the family of the United Nations. This is confirmation that our efforts in preparing this Summit have not been in vain Ð and I take this opportunity to warmly thank all the FAO staff, at all levels, for the quality and effectiveness of their work to ensure the success of this Summit.
For all of us, these past four days have been an important step towards our common objective: to eradicate hunger in a world from which it should have disappeared long ago. What should have been done to achieve the objective of the 1996 Summit Ð to halve the number of persons suffering from hunger by the year 2015 Ð has still not been done. The hungry are almost as numerous today as they were five years ago. This is the dismal reality that led us to convene the World Food Summit: five years later.
Today, your presence here, your motivation and your commitment are clear evidence that, beyond the international undertakings, each country will adopt concrete measures to implement the actions set out in the Declaration you have just adopted.
As this Summit closes, I have the great pleasure to announce that 53 Nations and the European Community have taken advantage of the presence, in Rome, of their delegations to sign the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture which was adopted by the Conference of FAO on November 2001; a further 7 Nations have already ratified it. I should like to reiterate my appeal for all Governments to sign the Treaty and to undertake the necessary ratification procedures as soon as possible.
You have reached broad consensus on the measures that are needed to accelerate the process of reducing hunger. You have publicly undertaken, before the whole world, to strengthen the political will and the actions that are required if we are to achieve our common objective.
We know that eliminating hunger is not only a moral imperative; we know that investing in the reduction of hunger can only benefit an increasingly interdependent world. It is in the interest of all, rich and poor, to do everything - and quickly - to bring about a fairer world, to eliminate chronic hunger and its stigmas of despair and resignation.
Let us waste no time in starting this race against time, putting our commitments into effect and demonstrating that, together, we will carry the battle against hunger and poverty, in the denial of scepticism and self-interest.
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