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Global meeting to assess progress on World Food Summit goals



Five years ago, a landmark gathering of world leaders pledged to work towards eradicating hunger. This year, a follow-up meeting, World Food Summit: five years later, will be held at FAO headquarters in Rome, 5-9 November 2001. Participants will review progress made towards the goal of the 1996 World Food Summit - to reduce the number of hungry people by half by 2015 - and consider ways to accelerate the process.

"The purpose of this event is to give new impetus to worldwide efforts on behalf of hungry people," says FAO Director-General Jacques Diouf. "We must raise both the political will and the financial resources to fight hunger. The international community has repeatedly declared that it is dedicated to the eradication of poverty. Eliminating hunger is a vital first step."

The promise: a world free from hunger

A profound affront to human dignity and human rights, hunger afflicts more than 800 million people. It is a fundamental constraint to development, especially of children, compromising their chances of a healthy and fulfilled life. Hunger fuels conflict and crime, reduces productivity and shortens life span.

At the 1996 World Food Summit, representatives from 185 countries and the European Community vowed to achieve universal food security, the access of all people at all times to sufficient, high-quality, safe food to lead active and healthy lives. The pledge to cut the number of hungry people in half by 2015 provided a time-bound, measurable goal. Unfortunately, current data indicates that the number of undernourished is falling at a rate of 8 million each year, far below the average rate of 20 million per year needed to reach that target.

Although headway has been made and some striking success stories exist in individual countries and communities, much remains to be done.

Measures to accelerate progress

The World Food Summit: five years later will take place within the biennial FAO Conference, which has been monitoring progress toward the World Food Summit goal. World leaders will be requested to outline the measures needed to achieve the goal, and make suggestions on how to accelerate progress. They are also expected to consider how resources invested in agricultural and rural development could help reduce the number of people suffering from hunger and poverty.

The agreements forged at the 1996 Summit - the Rome Declaration on World Food Security and World Food Summit Plan of Action - will not be reopened for discussion. Instead, Heads of State or Government will be asked to reaffirm their commitment to the already agreed-upon objectives.

An important milestone before the Summit will be the meeting of the FAO Committee on World Food Security (CFS) in May, where FAO will provide documents containing the most up-to-date information on efforts by nations and the international community to carry out the World Food Summit commitments. The views and recommendations of the CFS will then be transmitted to the FAO Conference.

The World Food Summit goal was included last year in the United Nations Millennium Declaration which resolved: "to halve, by the year 2015…the proportion of people who suffer from hunger…"


22 March 2001

Listen to Mr. David Harcharik, FAO Deputy Director-General, talking about the World Food Summit: five years later (1'15") - in RealAudio (157Kb) and in mp3 (593Kb)

World Food Summit: five years later Web site


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