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World Food Summit Revisted


It’s been 10 years since the World Food Summit when a goal was set to reduce by half the number of hungry people in the world. At the time that goal was set 800-million people were considered at risk. Next week, representatives from 120 countries will gather again in Rome to assess the progress that’s been made.

The UN Food and Agriculture Organization hosted the World Food Summit and will do so again for the follow-up gathering. The FAO’s Committee on World Food Security will meet from October 30th to November 4th.

Committee Secretary Margarita Flores says despite many promises and commitments 10 years ago, much remains to be done.

“We really need to say the progress has not been as we should expect,” she says.

Flores says that the results have been mixed on fighting world hunger.

“In the last 10 years there have been some very, very, good achievements in some regions, but there are also some very strong setbacks.”

The theme of next week’s meeting is “A world free from hunger: progress and prospects for achieving the World Food Summit Plan of Action.”

The summit goal of reducing by half the number of hungry people by 2015 is similar to one of the Millennium Development Goals. It calls for reducing the proportion of hunger and extreme poverty by the same year.

The FAO official says the Rome meeting will consider both.

“What is important, foe example, if we can see who has reduced the number as well as the proportion. It’s in particular Asia and the Pacific and Latin America and the Caribbean. But still the progress is too low. Then, in sub-Saharan Africa there’s an increase in the numbers, but in fact for the first time in the last two or three years the proportion of undernourished people declined. So, at least that is a good sign,” she says.

During next week’s meeting, three panels will be set-up to discuss aid and investment, trade and globalization and agrarian reform and rural development. There will also be programs promoting local empowerment in the agricultural sector.

Flores says, “What we believe we have seen is that in countries where you have had a good economic growth, and in particular a good agricultural growth, there has been more achievement in reducing the number of people suffering from hunger.”

On October 30th, the first day of the meeting, the FAO will release its annual State of World Food Security report.

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