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Rome food summit a major step in fighting hunger, FAO chief says

Rome food summit a major step in fighting hunger, FAO chief says

Jacques Diouf
As the United Nations today concluded a review conference on progress towards achieving global anti-hunger goals set in 1996, a senior UN official said the event had advanced the cause of food security.

"These past four days have been for us an important step towards our common objective: to eradicate hunger from a world where it should have disappeared long ago," said Jacques Diouf, head of the UN Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO), which organized the meeting, formally called "World Food Summit: Five Years Later."

Mr. Diouf lauded participants for adopting, on the first day of the meeting, a Declaration which reconfirms their commitment to halving the number of the world's hungry people - currently estimated at 800 million - by the year 2015.

The FAO chief stressed that the elimination of hunger was not only a moral imperative but would benefit today's interdependent world.

He also announced that during the conference 43 countries, plus the European Community, had signed the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture. He appealed for speedy ratification of the pact, which had been negotiated through FAO last year.