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FAO Conf. in Rome Nov 1996

THE EARTH TIMES

JANUARY 31, FEBRUARY 14, 1996

FOOD SUMMIT

November conference set in Rome

BY ASHALI VARMA

The first World Food Summit will be held in Rome at the headquarters of the Food and Agriculture Organization 9FAO), November 13-17, according to an announcement made by FAO’s Director General Jacques Diouf.

Many heads of state and government have expressed their support for the Summit which will seek commitment to a policy statement and a plan of action to eradicate hunger. The urgency for such a commitment was expressed by Diouf in a statement released during a news conference: “World food production will have to increase by more than 75 percent over the next 30 years to keep pace with population growth. We must prepare now to feed about 9 billion people who will inhabit the world by 2030.”

According to FAO, some 800 million people–200 million of them children are chronically undernourished in the developing world. Millions more suffer debilitating diseases caused by contaminated food and water.

“Unless the international community and national governments address the underlying causes of undernutrition, namely poverty, 15 years from now there still will be around 750 million hungry and undernourished people in the world,” said Diouf.

According to Diouf, the Summit is not a pledging conference, nor is it aiming to create new financial mechanisms but it will explore ways in which the international community, governments and NGOs can find practical  solutions to  promoting universal food security. “We know this is possible,” said Diouf. “Many countries, including some of the poorest, have successfully strengthened their food security by improving food availability, stabilizing supplies and improving access to food.”