World Summit on Food Security opens Monday

Over 60 heads of State and Government are planning to attend

13 November 2009, Rome - The World Summit on Food Security is set to open on Monday 16 November to give a new momentum to the fight against hunger and malnutrition affecting 1.02 billion people.

Pope Benedict XVI will deliver a keynote speech while UN Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon and FAO Director-General Jacques Diouf will also address the Summit.

Over 60 heads of State and Government are planning to attend.

FAO has convened the Summit in a bid to marshal political will behind increased investment in agriculture and a reinvigorated international effort to combat hunger.

Participating countries will adopt a Summit Declaration (draft) on the first day of the Summit. A Press Conference hosted by FAO Director-General Jacques Diouf with the participation of UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon and heads of IFAD and WFP is tentatively scheduled for Monday, 17:00h.

Ahead of the Summit FAO has launched an online campaign,, calling on the general public to sign a call for eradicating hunger and has invited people to go on a "hunger strike against hunger" on 14 or 15 November to show solidarity for those who go without enough to eat every day. The Director-General himself will be going on a 24-hour hunger strike from Friday evening to Saturday evening. Participants may limit their hunger strike to any period they deem appropriate.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has announced that he will join in the worldwide fast over the weekend called for by Director-General Jacques Diouf.

Pre-summit events

On Sunday, 15 November, the First Ladies of the Non-Aligned Movement will meet on the occassion of the Summit to debate how to improve women's access to productive resources in order to reduce hunger. The meeting will be chaired by Mrs. Suzanne Mubarak of Egypt (14:00h, Green Room). A press conference is planned for 18:50h in the Iran Room.

In a parallel event, the City of Rome is hosting with the support of the three Rome-based UN food agencies a Civil Society Forum 14-16 November 2009 to give non-governmental organizations their own platform to contribute to the Summit. More information is available on the Forum website.

On Friday 13 November a Private Sector Forum (Milan) and Inter-Parliamentarian meeting (Rome) are being held in advance of the Summit to raise awareness of food security issues and discuss the role of the private sector and national parliaments in addressing agriculture, hunger and food security.

Summit highlights

Monday 16 November

09.00h: Formal opening of the Plenary with an address by His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI.

15:00h: Roundtable discussion on minimizing the impact of the food, economic and financial crises on world food security. Red Room.

Afternoon: Adoption of the Summit Declaration

17:00h (to be confirmed): Press conference with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon, FAO Director-General Jacques Diouf, Kanayo F. Nwanze, President of the International Fund for Agricultural Development, and Josette Sheeran, Executive Director of the UN World Food Programme.

Tuesday 17 November

09:00h-onward: Plenary Interventions

09:00h Roundtable 2 - Reform of global governance of food security. Red Room.

15:00h: Roundtable 3 - Climate change: challenges for agriculture and food security. Red Room.

Wednesday 18 November

09:00h-onward: Plenary Interventions

09:00h, Roundtable 4 - Measures to enhance global food security - rural development, smallholder farmers and trade considerations. Red Room.

13:00h (time to be confirmed): Closing press conference with FAO's Director-General and high level attendees

A media events calendar is available online and will be updated on a regular basis:

Media contacts:

Note to editors and correspondents:

Entry passes for journalists who pre-accredited can now be picked up at the Summit Registration Centre located at Via della Consolazione 4 (near Teatro Marcello, in the Command Post of the Rome traffic police, see map).

Registration centre hours:
Friday, 13 November: 09:00 - 18:00 hours
Saturday, 14 November: 09:00 - 18:00 hours
Sunday, 15 November: 10:30 - 20:00 hours
Monday, 16 November: 07:00 - 18:00 hours
Tuesday, 17 November: 08:30 - 18:00 hours
Wednesday, 18 November: 08:30 - 10:00 hours

Passes are valid starting from Sunday 15 November. A working space for the media will be open on the ground floor of FAO building A starting at 12:00 hours (limited capacity) on the 15th (details). To access FAO, media must have in their possession their summit pass and ID materials used during accreditation. The media entryway is FAO Building D at the corner of Viale Aventino/Via Aventina starting from that time (map).

The media are encouraged to review the practical information for the media page on the summit website, which includes details on movement within FAO, internal working arrangements, access to video, audio and photo feeds, arranging for Wi-Fi/Internet access and renting equipment and more.

Useful links & online tools:

Photo: ©FAO/Alessia Pierdomenico
World leaders will gather in Rome for FAO's hunger summit.