October 2003, Rome -- Creating an International
Alliance Against Hunger will be the core theme of this
year's World Food Day on 16 October.
World Food Day marks the anniversary of the founding
of FAO on 16 October 1945. It will be celebrated with special
events in some 150 countries around the world.
In Rome, Jorge Luis Batlle Ibáñez, the President of
Uruguay, will address the main World Food Day ceremony, together
with the Italian Agriculture and Forestry Policy Minister,
Giovanni Alemanno, and FAO Director-General Jacques Diouf. A
message from the Pope will also be read.
Twelve celebrities will meet in Rome to discuss the
problem of world hunger.
participants include Magida Al Roumi, Roberto Baggio, Al Bano
Carrrisi, Debbie Ferguson, Mory Kanté, Rita Levi Montalcini,
Gina Lollobrigida, Miriam Makeba, Youssou N'Dour, Massimo
Ranieri, Dionne Warwick and the Italian singers' soccer
team. These stars are goodwill Ambassadors for FAO; they will
make a special appeal to end hunger in the world.
In the United States of America a World Food Day
teleconference will be broadcast live from the studios of George
Washington University in Washington D.C. on Thursday, 16
October, at 12:00 EDT.
The topic is,
Collaboration or Calamity: Africa in Peril. Dr. Catherine
Bertini, former Executive Director of the World Food Programme
and recipient of the 2003 World Food Prize, will be on the
program. There will also be videotaped remarks from the US
Ambassador to FAO, Tony Hall.
Nations need to mobilize political
Alliance Against Hunger is a way to push aside apathy and
indifference and usher in a new era of cooperation and action,
to decrease and ultimately eliminate the scourge of
hunger," FAO said in a statement.
"In this time of ample world food production
it is unacceptable that more than 840 million people remain
hungry," the UN agency said. "Too many
children die before adulthood, too many adults never reach their
full potential, too many nations are stalled on the road to
And the progress of
reducing the number of hungry by 2015, as agreed by the World
Food Summit in 1996, is painfully slow.
"Nations need to mobilize political will and
work harder to create the policy environment, provide the
funding and implement the programmes to allow people to overcome
hunger and poverty. To this end, the international community has
resolved to work together within an International Alliance
Against Hunger. A global partnership is needed to reduce poverty
and to guarantee the basic human right - the right to
The Alliance brings
together many different groups, including food producers and
consumers, international organizations, governments,
agribusiness, scientists, academics, private individuals, policy
makers, religious groups and non-governmental organizations
Civil society organizations will
present their anti-hunger and poverty campaigns at a meeting on
the afternoon of Thursday 16th at FAO Headquarters in Rome.
The Japan FAO Association will hold a World
Food Day Symposium in Tokyo.
President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva will host a special World
Food Day/ Zero Hunger Ceremony in Brasilia.
In Ireland, a World Food Day Seminar will be organized
by GORTA, the Irish Freedom from Hunger Campaign.
In South Africa, a national competition to select a
Female Farmer of the Year will be held.
New York, at the United Nations, a World Food Day ceremony will
be held on 17 October.
Information Officer, FAO
(+39) 06 570