FAO launches anti-hunger petition
Jeremy Irons protests about one billion hungry in support of FAO’s whistle-blowing campaign
11 May 2010, Rome - FAO today unveiled a major online petition calling on people to get angry at the fact that around a billion people suffer from hunger.
"The 1billionhungry project" uses strong images to illustrate hunger at its worst. Bold language and typography grab attention saying that enough is enough.
A yellow whistle works as an icon encouraging people to blow the whistle against hunger.
The online petition calls upon governments to make the elimination of hunger their top priority.
"We should be extremely angry for the outrageous fact that that our fellow human beings continue to suffer from hunger," said FAO Director-General Jacques Diouf.
"If you feel the same way, I want you to voice that anger. All of you, rich and poor, young and old, in developing and developed countries, express your anger about world hunger by adding your names to the global 1billion hungry petition at http://www.1billionhungry.org," he said.
FAO hopes the petition will spread through social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.
One of the features of the campaign is a promotional video made by British actor Jeremy Irons in which he plays a character based on a famous scene from the film "Network" where Peter Finch, who won an Oscar for his performance, says he is "as mad as hell".
US Olympic athlete Carl Lewis, and French soccer player Patrick Vieira are among the sporting and arts personalities to take part in the launch.
The Association of European Professional Football Leagues presents a video with football players voicing their anger. The EPFL will also sponsor a "Match Day against Hunger" later in the year.
Recording artists Anggun, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Dionne Warwick, Fanny Lu, Mory Kanté Noa, and Chucho Valdés have donated music for the campaign.
The "1billionhungry project" is fully supported by a number of civil society organisations including the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts and a growing list of NGOs who will promote the campaign through their own networks.
"It is a huge injustice that more than one billion people go to sleep hungry every night and we welcome FAO's focus and commitment on this issue," said Katia Maia, Head of Oxfam's Food and Agriculture Campaign.
Hunger off target
If the world continues at the current pace of hunger reduction, the Millennium Development Goal of halving the percentage of hungry people by 2015 will not be met.
Of the around one billion hungry people, 642 million live in Asia and the Pacific, 265 million in Sub-Saharan Africa, 53 million in Latin America and the Caribbean, 42 in the Near East and North Africa and 15 million people in developed countries.
FAO estimates that global agricultural production needs to grow by 70 percent if the estimated 9 billion people that will inhabit the planet in 2050 are to be fed.
Support to agriculture in developing countries is set to be on the agenda at next month's Group of Eight leaders' summit in Canada.
Events to support the launch of the 1billionhungry campaign were organized in cities around the world. In Yokohama, for example, home of the UN food agencies in Japan, banners have been erected over major landmarks. In Paris, students and NGO supporters of the campaign gathered in front of the Eiffel Tower wearing t-shirts and blowing whistles.
Note to editors: Campaign material is available for download via FTP clicking here.