ROME, 11 October 2002 - This
year's World Food Day theme, "Water: source of
food security", points to the essential role of water
in food production for a world population expected to reach
eight billion by 2030.
Each year on the
anniversary of its founding, 16 October 1945, the UN Food and
Agriculture Organization (FAO) draws attention to the problem of
hunger and malnutrition in the world.
Food Day 2002 will be marked by a ceremony at FAO Headquarters,
featuring a keynote address by President Hugo Chávez Frías of
Venezuela, a message from Pope John Paul II, and speeches by FAO
Director-General Jacques Diouf and Italy's Minister of
Agricultural and Forestry Policies Gianni Alemanno.
Speakers will highlight the importance of better water
management practices in agriculture production. Agriculture uses
about 70 percent of all freshwater withdrawn from the earth.
More and more water will be used for irrigation, as world food
production increases to feed a growing population. Water used
for agriculture must be managed wisely. An FAO study of 93
developing countries indicates that some water-scarce nations
are already withdrawing water supplies faster than they can be
renewed. Ten countries are already in a critical state,
according to FAO.
At the FAO
headquarters' ceremony, Director-General Jacques Diouf will
award the World Food Day 2002 medal to the winners of a
schools' poster competition, organized by the UN
Following the World
Food Day ceremony, a press conference by Venezuelan President
Chávez and the FAO Director-General will take place at 12:45 in
the Iran Room, at FAO headquarters.
Director-General will appoint several new goodwill ambassadors
to work with FAO's campaign against hunger. Famous soccer
player Roberto Baggio (Italy) and Olympic track and field
champion Debbie Ferguson (Bahamas) will be the first celebrities
from the world of sports to be appointed FAO Ambassadors. In a
move that will bring the number of goodwill ambassadors to 15,
the Director-General will also appoint American singer Dionne
Warwick, Italian artist Massimo Ranieri and the Associazione
Nazionale Italiana Cantanti. This is a soccer team that includes
renowned Italian singers acting in a benevolent capacity. FAO
currently has ten Ambassadors: Nobel Prize winner Rita Levi
Montalcini, singers Magida Al Roumi, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Al
Bano Carrisi, Gilberto Gil, Mory Kanté, Miriam Makeba and
Youssou N'Dour, actresses Gong Li and Gina Lollobrigida.
This year, World Food Day 2002 will have a
special dimension as FAO joins with the international community
to promote the sustainable use and management of water as an
essential global resource. In more than 150 countries, there
will be events marking the World Food Day 2002.
Non governmental organisations will meet at FAO to
discuss the problem of water scarcity in food production. This
meeting is sponsored by FAO and the Italian Association of