On 16 October 2010, World Food Day enters its 30th year. This auspicious occasion also marks the 65th anniversary of the founding of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. The theme of this year’s observance is United against hunger, chosen to recognize the efforts made in the fight against world hunger at national, regional and international levels.
Uniting against hunger becomes real when state and civil society organizations and the private sector work in partnership at all levels to defeat hunger, extreme poverty and malnutrition. In this manner collaboration among international organizations plays a key strategic role in directing global efforts to reach Millennium Development Goal 1 – Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger – which calls for halving the hungry people in the world by 2015.
The World Summit on Food Security, or the “hunger summit”, held in November 2009, adopted a declaration renewing the commitment made at the 1996 World Food Summit to eradicate hunger sustainably from the face of the earth. The Declaration also called for an increase in domestic and international funding for agriculture, new investments in the rural sector, improved governance of global food issues in partnership with relevant stakeholders from the public and private sector, and more action to face the threat climate change poses to food security.
In 2009, the critical threshold of one billion hungry people in the world was reached in part due to soaring food prices and the financial crisis, a “tragic achievement in these modern days", according to FAO Director-General Jacques Diouf. On the eve of the hunger summit, Dr Diouf launched an online petition to reflect the moral outrage of the situation. The “1 billion hungry project” reaches out to people through online social media to invite them to sign the anti-hunger petition at www.1billionhungry.org.
On this World Food Day 2010, when there have never been so many hungry people in the world, let us reflect on the future. With willpower, courage and persistence – and many players working together and helping each other – more food can be produced, more sustainably, and get into the mouths of those who need it most.
Food and Agriculture Organization
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