World Food Day/TeleFood 2003 - Information Note:
International Alliance against Hunger
Each year on 16 October, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations celebrates World Food Day in commemoration of its founding on that day in 1945. The World Food Day/TeleFood theme for this year, International Alliance against Hunger, is a call to action-to encourage all those concerned about the problem of hunger to join forces in a common effort.
Over the years, millions of people have graduated from the ranks of the hungry. But 840 million remain crippled by the indignity of not having enough to eat. The goal of cutting by half the number of hungry people by 2015-a target adopted at the World Food Summit in 1996 and reflected in the Millennium Development Goals-still lies out of reach.
What is lacking is political will. Many nations have made verbal commitments to fight hunger, but few have done enough and on the scale required. Nations will need to work harder to create the policy environment, provide the funding and implement the programmes to allow people to overcome hunger and poverty. For this reason, the global community has resolved to work together within an International Alliance against Hunger.
An alliance brings together the strengths of different groups to gain greater power to achieve a common goal. The formation of such an alliance envisions all partners working in concert, from food producers and consumers to international organizations from private firms, scientists and academics to individuals, religious groups and non-governmental organizations. It also includes donors and policymakers from both rich and poor countries.
As this Alliance takes shape, leaders in an increasing number of countries are boldly putting the fight against hunger at the forefront of national priorities, realizing that only when people are well-fed can they take part in their nation's economic and social advancement. FAO applauds their courage and urges others to join them.
The Alliance does not foresee the creation of new mechanisms to fight hunger. Major conferences have galvanized support among governments and international organizations and set clear goals for the road ahead. And a wide range of development partners is using time-tested techniques to boost nutrition and income. Instead, the Alliance will strengthen political commitment for existing initiatives. At the same time it will help partners to develop a common vision on measures to take and build cooperation among diverse groups.
It will provide a forum for advocacy, promote joint actions by its members and facilitate information exchange-through web sites, newsletters and progress reports. Partners of the Alliance can offer assistance in their spheres of competence, which may include advocacy, technical training, policy advice and monitoring the progress of hunger reduction strategies. Together, these activities will help to attract increased funding from finance institutions, the private sector and other donors.
While everyone has a role to play in the Alliance, the main responsibility for reaching goals lies with a nation and its people. Each country should set its own national targets through its legislative bodies and lay out the steps to move forward, including implementing programmes that target the hungry.
The creation of an international Alliance is a pledge by all to work together to eliminate hunger. World Food Day and TeleFood activities around the globe will help to deliver this message while promoting the overall objective of this annual event: to raise awareness about the problems of hunger and to work towards long-term solutions to guarantee food for all.
In this time of ample world food production it is unacceptable that more than 840 million people remain hungry. This year's World Food Day theme, International Alliance against Hunger, will serve as a call for further action. Together, we must take the concept of a global partnership and make it a reality, with a view to guaranteeing the world's citizens a basic human right-to be free from hunger.
For further information on World Food Day (WFD), contact:
Unit for Liaison with National Committees (GIDN)