World Food Day commemorates the anniversary of FAO's founding on 16 October 1945. This annual celebration, which has been observed in 150 countries over the last two decades, also coincides with TeleFood – FAO’s campaign to raise awareness about the plight of the world's hungry people and mobilize resources to help them.
As the millennium dawns, around 800 million men, women and children are chronically hungry. Hunger not only cuts short the lives and hopes of individuals, it also damages the peace and prosperity of nations. Urgent action must be taken on many fronts not just to provide food for the hungry, but also to eliminate the underlying causes of hunger worldwide – rapidly, sustainably and permanently.
Meeting this challenge will not be easy. Ending hunger and food insecurity is not simply a matter of growing more food. The world already produces enough to provide an adequate diet for everyone. Ending hunger also means making sure that the food gets into the hands and mouths of those who really need it – the poor – especially poor girls and women, isolated rural communities, ethnic minorities living on the economic margins of society and victims of war and natural calamities.
The 1996 World Food Summit’s Plan of Action maps out the road towards a millennium free from hunger. The plan includes commitments to increase economic growth, to enhance employment for the poor, to provide safety nets to protect those in need and to pay adequate attention to agriculture and rural development. Living up to these commitments is essential if we are to succeed in fulfilling our vision and creating a world without hunger.
Raising people’s awareness about the problems of hunger and food insecurity is a vital first step. Celebrations of World Food Day focus on heightening public awareness and understanding of world hunger and strengthening international and national solidarity in the struggle against hunger, poverty and malnutrition. The related TeleFood campaign continues to do the same through a variety of events involving several sectors of society in many countries.
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