The United Nations food aid agency today honoured President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva of Brazil for his leadership in the fight against hunger and inadequate nutrition in his country and across the world.
The World Food Programme (WFP) recognized Mr. Lula da Silva as a Global Champion in the Battle Against Hunger, saying he had set an example that should be emulated in efforts to end global hunger.
“The Government of Brazil and the World Food Programme share a common vision of a world free of hunger,” said WFP Executive Director Josette Sheeran, who bestowed the honour on Mr. Lula da Silva during her first official visit to the country.
“President Lula has shown leadership in the fight against hunger by pushing the needs of the poor and the under-nourished to the very top of the international agenda,” she said.
Ms. Sheeran, who visited the site of one of Brazil’s national hunger programmes, “Fome Zero” (Zero Hunger) project near the capital, Brasilia, said Mr. Lula da Silva’s enthusiasm for the needs of the hungry had set an example for others.
In partnership with WFP, Brazil has provided technical support to help Governments run their school meal programmes in African, Latin American and Caribbean countries, giving pupils hot meals and helping them to build the nutritional foundation they need for a better future.
Brazil is also assisting WFP emergency operations in Haiti, where Brazilian troops serving in the UN peacekeeping force, known as MINUSTAH, supported food distributions among Haitians before and after the 12 January earthquake.
Ms. Sheeran is scheduled to begin a two-day visit to Haiti tomorrow to see how WFP is supporting the long-term recovery and food security of the Haitian people. She will meet mothers and young children involved in WFP’s nutrition programmes in the capital, Port-au-Prince, and visit a school meals programme, as well as meet senior Government and UN officials.
WFP’s Global Champion in the Battle Against Hunger award is given to individuals for their vision and leadership in addressing hunger, and for showing that the fight against hunger and child under-nutrition can be won.
Previous recipients include former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, the current Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, World Bank President Robert Zoellick, Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, former President of Ghana John Kufuor, United States humanitarian campaigner Cindy McCain and Chinese Olympic athlete Li Ning.