Fight Hunger to Reduce Poverty
"Fight hunger to reduce poverty" is the theme for this year’s World Food Day
-- a day observed throughout
the world on the anniversary of FAO's founding,16 October 1945. Captured
in this year’s theme is the fact that hunger is the most critical
manifestation of poverty, so eliminating hunger is the first step towards
reducing poverty and ensuring Food for All.
Around 800 million men,
women and children are chronically hungry. Hunger causes illness and
death, robs people of their potential to work and cripples children's
learning capacity. It also undermines the peace and prosperity of nations
and traps individuals in a vicious cycle of poor nutrition, ill health and
diminished capacity for learning and work that is passed on from one
generation to the next. Above all, it is a fundamental violation of the
right to food.
Unfortunately, most poverty reduction strategies
fail to specifically target hunger. Policy makers long assumed that if
income levels rose and economies grew, the benefits would trickle down to
the hungry. But this has not proved to be an effective
"We cannot assume that hunger will disappear as a
by-product of poverty elimination," says FAO Director-General Jacques
Diouf. "A sharper focus is needed on hunger and agricultural development
within the broader objective of poverty reduction."
progress in the fight against hunger, governments, the private sector and
the international community will need to focus their efforts in rural
areas, where 70 percent of the poor and hungry live. This must include
directing more investments to those regions.
awareness about the problems of hunger and food insecurity is also a vital
step. World Food Day activities aim to heighten public understanding of
hunger and strengthen solidarity in the struggle to make sure that
everyone has enough to eat every day. World-renowned celebrities support
this effort as participants in
FAO’s Ambassadors Programme.
FAO’s TeleFood campaign
creates awareness of the fight against hunger through a variety of events
-- including concerts, sporting events andtelevision programmes -- around
At the 1996 World Food Summit, world leaders committed
themselves to cutting by half the number of hungry people by 2015. This year's World Food Day will provide an
additional opportunity to raise awareness about the issues to be addressed
at the World Food Summit: five years later.