The World Food Day, is observed annually on 16 October by Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and more than 150 countries worldwide. It provides an occasion to highlight the plight of hungry and malnourished people in the world, now estimated to be more than 1 billion. This year’s theme is: Achieving food security in times of Crisis (information note).
According to FAO’s latest figures, the combination of food and economic crises have pushed the number of hungry people worldwide to historic levels - more than 1 billion persons suffering from hunger and malnutrition today. This means that almost one sixth of all humanity is suffering from hunger. Nearly all of the world's undernourished live in developing countries. In Asia and the Pacific, an estimated 642 million people are suffering from chronic hunger; in Sub-Saharan Africa 265 million; in Latin America and the Caribbean 53 million; in the Near East and North Africa 42 million; and in developed countries 15 million. These estimates are reflected in FAO's annual hunger report, The State of Food Insecurity, produced this year in collaboration with the World Food Programme (WFP), on 15 October 2009 (link: The State of Food Insecurity 2009 (SOFI) report).
The Day’s theme highlights the need to achieve food security, event in times of crisis or not, and that it is indeed a global priority. Even in times of crisis, people can be saved from the worst effects of hunger and malnutrition. FAO continues to advocate a twin-track approach to address both the short-term acute hunger spurred by sudden food shortages and the longer-term chronic hunger that is symptomatic of extreme poverty as a way for durable solutions (flyer for 2009 WFD).
The observance of World Food Day in New York at the United Nations Headquarters will take place with a high-level event led by Mr. Jacque Diouf, FAO Director-General on 29 October 2009 (FAO Director-General’s message). Mr. Ban Ki-moon, UN Secretary-General, who is also Chair of the High-level Task Force on Global Food Security Crisis, will also deliver a message at the event.
The WFD observance in New York will provide an occasion to draw attention to the the plight of people suffering from undernourishment. Key remarks will also be made by H.E. Mr. Ali Abdussalam Treki, President of the 64th Session of the United Nations General Assembly; H.E. Ms. Sylvie Lucas, President of the Economic and Social Council; and Ms. Dionne Warwick, award-winning singer and FAO Goodwill Ambassador.
From 24 – 30 October 2009, a photo and video exhibit related to the World Food Day will be displayed in the Neck Area of the General Assembly Building. It will showcase a selection of the work of FAO in implementing solutions to global challenges and their trends, especially food security and productivity of rural populations and smallholder farmers. Documents from FAO and two other Rome-based agencies, the WFP and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), will also be made available during the exhibit.
The entire UN community is invited to attend the World Food Day observance, including member states, the UN Secretariat, NGOs and Civil Society. For further information on the event and to RSVP, please contact the FAO Liaison Office at (212) 963 6036 or at LON-Registry@un.org
Many events related to the World Food Day will be organized all around the world and information on these events, as well as the Observance of the World Food Day in FAO Headquarters in Rome on 16 October 2009, are available at the World Food Day Web site.