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Fight hunger to reduce poverty

World Food Day 16 October


"Fight hunger to reduce poverty" is the theme for this year's World Food Day, 16 October. For two decades the Day, marking the founding of FAO in 1945, has been observed in a variety of ways on every continent to heighten public awareness about global hunger and to focus attention on achieving food security for all.

Taking place around World Food Day this year, for example, are a food fair in Bolivia, a fund-raising lottery in Ecuador, a "fight-hunger" run for children in India, a competition for home gardening in Sri Lanka, a gala dinner in Tanzania and a picture and poetry contest in Turkey, not to mention the many roundtables, seminars and workshops discussing hunger, as well as food exhibitions, television shows, concerts and charity football games marking the Day across the world.

The keynote speaker for this year's World Food Day ceremony at FAO's Rome Headquarters is His Excellency Johannes Rau, President of the Federal Republic of Germany. Also making statements are FAO Director-General Jacques Diouf and Gianni Alemanno, Italy's Minister of Agricultural and Forestry Policies.

His Holiness Pope John Paul II has provided a message for the ceremony, which also includes a performance by a children's choir. The prestigious FAO Ceres Medal is being awarded to Her Majesty Queen Fabiola of Belgium. Four new FAO Ambassadors are also being appointed. They are: singer Magida Al Roumi from Lebanon, Italian singer Al Bano Carrisi , Singer Gilberto Gil from Brazil and singer Mory Kanté from Guinea.

"Fight hunger to reduce poverty" also underlie activities for TeleFood 2001, FAO's annual campaign of broadcasts, concerts and other events dedicated to mobilizing public awareness and global solidarity to end hunger.

In his World Food Day message, FAO's Director-General Jacques Diouf says: "I believe it is important to recognize that hunger deserves at least the same attention as poverty when we look at global development priorities. And sadly, at the dawn of the third millennium, we are still far from ensuring that all people on the planet have enough to eat, when and where they need it."

Around 800 million men, women and children are chronically hungry. Hunger causes illness and death, robs people of their potential to work and cripples children's learning capacity. It also undermines the peace and prosperity of nations and traps individuals in a vicious cycle of poor nutrition, ill health and diminished capacity for learning and work that is passed on from one generation to the next. Above all, it is a fundamental violation of the right to food.

Mr Diouf ends his World Food Day message: "I ask everyone -- world leaders, civil society organizations, development partners, private corporations, donors and the entire global community -- to remember that wherever there are people who are chronically undernourished, there can be no hope for a world without poverty. We must tackle both problems, and the time to fight hunger and reduce poverty is now."

 15 October 2001

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