Rarely has World Food Day assumed greater meaning than at the present time, as rapidly rising food prices risk increasing the number of hungry people, notes FAO’s Chief of World Food Day events, Sidaty Aidara.
World Food Security: the Challenges of Climate Change and Bioenergy is the theme of this year’s World Food Day on 16 October, the day that FAO was founded in Quebec City in 1945, and now observed annually in some 150 countries.
With the number of undernourished people currently estimated at more than 850 million, high food prices are not only putting at greater risk the hungry but those also on the brink of poverty.
The implications of soaring food prices and related issues were considered at the recent High-level Conference on World Food Security, involving the UN Secretary-General, 181 governments and 41 Heads of State or Government, that took place at FAO headquarters from 3 to 5 June.
Last December, FAO also launched an Initiative on Soaring Food Prices, to help farmers in some of the poorest countries through the provision of seeds, fertilizers, and other tools they need to boost agricultural production for the coming planting seasons through 2009.
WFD activities aim at expanding global awareness in an effort to reduce the effects of increasingly severe climate patterns on agriculture and the impact of biofuels on food production.
In connection with World Food Day, from 14 to 17 October 2008, FAO will host the Committee on World Food Security to assess the current global food situation and implications for the future. During the meeting, special events will also be organized to consider specifically, the impact of high food prices on nutrition and the theme of high prices, food security issues and policy responses.
The official World Food Day ceremony at FAO headquarters will take place on 16 October in the presence of member countries, civil society and for the first time involving representatives from the European Professional Football Leagues (EPFL) and the Confédération Africaine de Football (CAF).
EPFL and CAF are working with FAO as part of a United Nations effort to promote sport for development and peace through a partnership to launch and promote a campaign called “Professional football against hunger".
Among the many World Food Day and TeleFood events are symposia, Roundtable discussions, concerts and an annual teleConference on world food issues.
Other events include the special WFD ceremony at United Nations headquarters in New York on 17 October; the third annual Run-for-Food event being held in the city of Rome on 19 October and expected to involve over 4000 participants; and a worldwide Candlelight Vigil on 21 October, both events taking place both in Rome and in other countries around the world.
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Gates Foundation Grant for FAO