Postponed in wake of terror attacks, UN food summit to be held next June

Postponed in wake of terror attacks, UN food summit to be held next June

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A key United Nations conference on food security has been postponed until next June in the wake of the terror attacks against the United States and the subsequent events in Afghanistan, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) announced today.

In a statement from its headquarters in Rome, the FAO said its 49-member governing Council agreed to reschedule the "World Food Summit: five years later" for 10 to 13 June 2002 in Rome. The conference had originally been slated for 5 to 9 November as part of the agency's biennial conference, which involves all 180 member States.

"Unfortunately the present international circumstances and the loss of so many innocent lives and the crisis that followed have led us to seek postponement of such an event," FAO Director-General Jacques Diouf said earlier this month in asking to delay the conference.

The FAO Council called for the Food Summit last year when it became clear that the original 1996 Summit's goal of cutting the number of hungry in half by 2015 would not be met without renewed effort.

In light of recent global events, particularly the war in Afghanistan and the worsening economic situation, FAO said the plight of the hungry might grow worse. The 2002 Food Summit is seen an opportunity to seek a major recommitment from Heads of State and Government to press forward with renewed will to reduce the number of hungry people in the world.