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World leaders at a U.N. summit on food security in Rome are vowing to take "urgent action" to eliminate global hunger. But they did not agree in their final declaration to a U.N. request for $44 billion a year in farm aid.
The World Food Program says for the first time ever, more than one billion people in the world are going hungry. That's more than one out of every six people on Earth.
World hunger and food security are the focus of a three-day U.N. summit that opened Monday in Rome.
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.
"We must work together to build trust," he said. "We need joint investment planning, predictable resources, mutual accountability. Together, we must ensure that food is available and affordable for all."
While Italian farmers protested against European agriculture policies elsewhere in Rome, summit delegates pledged to substantially increase agricultural aid to help developing nations become more self-sufficient.
But they failed to increase farm aid to $44 billion a year, as requested by the U.N.'s Food and Agriculture Organization.
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The leader of the world's one billion Roman Catholics, Pope Benedict XVI denounced "opulence and waste" as worldwide hunger worsens.
"Nor must the fundamental rights of the individual be forgotten, which include, of course, the right to sufficient, healthy, and nutritious food, and likewise water," he said. "These rights take on an important role in the realization of others, beginning with the primary one, the right to life."
The declaration promises no new financial commitments. Analysts also say it makes no mention of a U.N. proposal for nations to adopt 2025 as a deadline to eradicate world hunger.