Queen Letizia of Spain named FAO Special Ambassador for Nutrition

Highlights the importance of "mobilizing will" in the fight against hunger and malnutrition in address to FAO Conference

12 June 2015, Rome - Queen Letizia of Spain has been named FAO Special Ambassador for Nutrition in a ceremony here today.

The appointment was made in recognition of the Queen's personal commitment to building a world free from hunger and malnutrition, and Spain's efforts to promote global food and nutritional security.

It also reflects the Queen's strong interest in scientific research that supports health, education and innovation.

As Special Ambassador, Queen Letizia will engage in raising awareness of global hunger challenges and building public support for hunger eradication.

"My task is that of serving the objectives of this UN agency in the most effective way possible," the Queen told representatives of FAO's Members gathered at the Organization's governing Conference.

"In this day and age, we have the technical capacity to produce healthy food in sufficient quantities for all. Therefore what we must do is mobilize the will," she said, calling for "collective action involving governments, the private sector, civil society, and, of course, individuals. We need everyone on board."

During her address Queen Letizia stressed the critical need of ensuring good nutrition for pregnant and breastfeeding mothers and for young children during the first years of life.

She added that the agro-food sector should participate in advancing toward these goals "in an active and responsible way, helping raise awareness of the need to support people in living healthy lives free of sickness."

Echoing the key message of an FAO book released yesterday, the Queen described the benefits of the traditional Mediterranean diet, calling it "the best example of healthy and sustainable eating."

Hunger eradication can be our generation's "greatest legacy"

"We are fully confidently that her majesty will help those who most need it break the vicious cycle of chronic hunger and malnutrition," said FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva.

"Eradication of hunger and malnutrition can and should be the greatest legacy we leave to humanity. Let us make that a reality," he added.

According to FAO's latest assessment, the number of hungry people in the world has been reduced by 216 million since 1990. However, some 795 million still experience chronic undernourishment today.

"At the same time, obesity rates are going up, primarily in medium- and high-income countries," the Director-General noted. Children are especially vulnerable to nutrition problems, he noted.

Second International Conference on Nutrition

Queen Letizia was last at FAO for the 2nd International Conference on Nutrition, held at FAO's Rome headquarters last November, where she also spoke. At ICN2 world leaders adopted the Rome Declaration on Nutrition and a supporting Framework for Action which include the commitment to eradication malnutrition and transform agricultural systems in order to ensure healthy diets for all.

"FAO, together with its Members and partners, is determined to intensify activities aimed at implement the commitments made at ICN2," said FAO's Director-General, inviting countries to support a newly established Action for Nutrition Trust Fund.

Tackling the challenge of malnutrition in all its forms head on is "a sound investment," said the Queen, who after delivering her speech joined a group of FAO experts in nutrition and education in order to discuss the Organization's work on nutrition and her work as Special Ambassador.

Photo: ©FAO
Queen Letizia of Spain is named Special Ambassador by FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva.