16 October 2003, Rome -- FAO
Director-General Jacques Diouf appealed for an international
alliance against hunger on Thursday, World Food Day, as the UN
Food and Agriculture Organization commemorated its foundation in
"Nations must turn verbal
commitments to fight hunger into practical programmes that
address the underlying causes of hunger," Diouf told
high-level personalities from the different regions of the world
assembled at the agency's headquarters in Rome.
"I believe that we are now at the threshold
of the end of this long struggle against global
hunger," he said in an optimistic speech, adding that
there were three reasons for being hopeful about the future.
"First of all, never before in the
history of the world has so much food been produced [...]
secondly there is now a broad international consensus that
hunger and poverty must end," he explained.
Propelled by hope
"The third reason for my optimism today is
that during the past year a number of countries have boldly put
the fight against hunger at the forefront of national
priorities," he added, citing Uruguay as one such
The keynote speaker, President
Jorge Batlle of Uruguay, added his voice to the appeal stressing
freedom from hunger would only be achieved by uniting forces and
placing the fight against hunger at the very top of the
Launching his call for
an international alliance against hunger, Diouf said:
"I am hopeful that this renewed international consensus
will be translated into an active global partnership that brings
together the strengths of all those committed to ending hunger
in a single effort."
producers and consumers, international organizations,
scientists, academics, religious groups, NGOs, donors,
policymakers and all those concerned about the problem of world
hunger were already uniting in a number of countries, Diouf
"Through an International
Alliance against Hunger [we...] will create a broad
global coalition to deal with this problem. Everyone must be
part of the solution," he said.
Dignitaries attending the ceremony included
Vice-Presidents Juan Francisco Reyes López of Guatemala and
Solomon Berewa of Sierra Leone, Italian Minister of Agricultural
and Forestry Policies Giovanni Alemanno and the President of the
Italian Chamber of Deputies, Pier Ferdinando Casini.
Giovanni Alemanno said that Italy had every intention
of fully participating in the International Alliance against
Hunger, "This initiative has the dual aim of calling
upon governments to create tangible actions to solve the problem
of world hunger and coordinating the efforts of all
involved," he said.
Renato Volante, Permanent Observer of the Holy See to FAO, read
a message from Pope John Paul II.
"The Alliance against hunger" [...]
must be founded on the idea of the international community as a
family of nations committed to pursuing the
universal common good," Monsignor Volante said on
behalf of the Pope.
about this Alliance requires the exercise of solidarity on the
part of Governments, international organizations, and men and
women of every Continent," he added.
Spotlight on hunger
The audience included five new FAO Ambassadors -
celebrities who promote FAO's mission and message
throughout the world.
Khaled, Mexico's pop group Mana, Israeli singer Noa and
Oumou Sangaré of Mali along with former Miss Universe Justine
Pasek of Panama were named new ambassadors during the ceremony.
Illustrating the potential of an alliance
against hunger, a group of Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs)
organized a forum presenting their anti-hunger strategies
following the ceremony.
World Food Day also
marked the launch of the Organization's Nutrition Country
Profiles CD Rom - a collection of data and information on over
The profiles are intended to
provide policy-makers, researchers, teachers and students with a
valuable information resource: a comprehensive picture of a
country's food and nutrition situation and the related
geographical, economic and social context.
FAO Media Relations