JOHANNESBURG/ROME, 30 August - More
political will and financial resources are urgently needed to
address hunger and malnutrition as the root cause of extreme
poverty, said Dr. Jacques Diouf, Director-General of the UN Food
and Agriculture Organization (FAO) in his statement delivered to
the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) in
"Some 800 million
people are currently suffering from hunger and malnutrition.
Most live in the developing countries and are constantly up
against the degradation of their natural resources and their
environment. Their institutions are weak. They lack
infrastructure, especially markets. They have inadequate
technologies," Dr. Diouf said.
The number of undernourished needs to fall by more
than 22 million each year if the objective of the World Food
Summit of reducing the number of hungry by half by 2015 is to be
"It is in fact up to the
governments to ensure food security at national level, acting in
concert with civil society and the private sector and receiving
support from the international community," Dr. Diouf
organisations and financing institutions need to use their
resources effectively to improve their performance and to step
up their cooperation, working as one to overcome hunger and to
consolidate the primary role of sustainable agriculture and
rural development in food security."
The FAO Director-General emphasized that "the
fight against hunger and poverty will come to nothing unless we
make sure that women, especially rural women, are placed at the
heart of the process."
that the goals of the WSSD reflect those of the World Food
Summit: five years later held in Rome in June this year. A
costed Anti-Hunger Programme drawn up by FAO mainly corresponds
to the agriculture component of the UN Secretary-Generals'
WEHAB Initiative (water, energy, health, agriculture and
The Anti-Hunger Programme
calls for additional national and international investment for
agricultural productivity in poor rural communities, development
and conservation of natural resources, expansion of rural
infrastructure and market access, and the generation and
dissemination of knowledge as well as action to ensure access to
food for the most needy. These expenditures would
"translate into rapid and substantial reductions in
hunger and extreme poverty," the FAO Director-General
The Anti-Hunger Programme envisages
an additional annual public investment of some $24 billion. This
includes $5 billion to provide food assistance to the most needy
as well as around $3 billion for credits at market interest
rates. Around $16 billion would be required for agricultural and
rural development. This component should be equally shared
between developed and developing countries.
"Realizing the reduction of the number of
hungry people by half by 2015 would boost the global economy by
an estimated US$120 billion per year," Dr. Diouf added.
"I hope that, over the next 5
years, the process started here in Johannesburg will prompt
concrete and measurable improvements in the implementation of
Agenda 21 and in the realization of the objectives of the
Millennium Declaration," Dr. Diouf said.