Building the #ZeroHunger Generation

Your guide to FAO

This learning path will take you on a journey through FAO’s history. Since its foundation in 1945, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations has always striven to make the world a fairer place for all, and a large part of this means fighting to eliminate hunger. Zero Hunger is the ultimate goal, to be achieved by the year 2030 — find out how and be part of the change!

A Story with deep roots

The seed of an idea
FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations) was founded in 1945, thanks to the willingness of 44 nations that signed their commitment to the fight against hunger. This took place as the whole world was recovering from devastation and food shortages following the Second World War.

In 1904, someone had already had the idea of bringing the world’s leaders together to share problems and knowledge on the topic of food and agriculture. David Lubin, a Polish immigrant in America, had presented a proposal for an International Institute of Agriculture (IIA) to King Victor Emmanuel III in Italy. He neither wore a hat nor gloves, as the customs of the time dictated. Yet, the king received him anyway, and was enthusiastic about his small but great idea. 

A tree that grows

Lubin’s IIA continued its programme through both highs and lows. The First World War had left various tensions between nations, who were unwilling to collaborate. Getting along appeared to be impossible. The outbreak of the Second World War, a few years later, certainly did not improve the situation. Frank McDougall continued in Lubin’s footsteps. A brilliant economist and nutritionisthe believed in the importance of agriculture to combat malnutrition and to create a more just economic model.

McDougall explained his idea to the president of the United States, Roosevelt: how could one not start from the single fundamental element of human existence, food, to solve conflict and inequality? What was needed A Story with deep roots 1 Find out the meaning of all words marked with a * in the glossary on page 19. 5 was a global organization to represent countries around the world and unite them in the fight against hunger. Roosevelt understood that McDougall was right. The first United Nations conference on Nutrition and Agriculture was held in Hot Springs, America in 1943. The issue of surpluses was discussed: how to reconcile the fact that some countries in the world had an excess of food while in others people were dying of hunger? Many aspects of this problem still remain unresolved today. On 16 October 1945, Lubin’s IIA was closed and FAO was born, which became the first specialised organization of the United Nations, when the UN formed 8 days later. Its foundation was signed by 44 governments. Yet, today it has 194 member nations, 2 special members, and a member organization, the European Union, that have and continue to share every sacrifice and victory they have experienced. 

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