Global stability at risk without eradicating hunger, heads of UN agencies warn

Global stability at risk without eradicating hunger, heads of UN agencies warn

Rapid progress to eradicate hunger is necessary to avert threats to global political and economic stability, the heads of the three Rome-based United Nations food agencies warned today.

"We believe that, in spite of initially slow progress, it is still possible to achieve the target of the World Food Summit of 1996 to reduce the number of hungry people by 2015," Catherine A. Bertini, Executive Director of the UN World Food Programme (WFP), Jacques Diouf, Director-General of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and Lennart Bage, President of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) said in a foreword to a special edition of the publication Working together to fight hunger and poverty 2001.

The agency chiefs deplored the lack of resources committed to reducing food insecurity and other manifestations of poverty, as well as the widening gap between rich and poor within and between nations.

They noted that the problem of hunger had been largely created by people and could be solved by people. "Most of the solutions are well understood and can be implemented in every country, provided there is sufficient political will on the part of all concerned," they said. "We see hunger as both a cause and an effect of deep poverty: we believe that unless both hunger and poverty are banished, we cannot lay strong foundations."

Since 1999, the number of beneficiaries reached by joint activities of FAO, IFAD and WFP has quadrupled to almost 9 million people in all regions of the world, according to the forward.