Progress has been slow in efforts to reach the World Food Summit goal of cutting by half the number of the world's chronically hungry and under-nourished people by 2015. This goal will not be met if we continue doing "business as usual".
FAO estimates that 840 million human beings on our Earth remain chronically hungry, 799 million of them in the developing world. The number has been decreasing by barely 2.5 million per year over the last eight years. At that rate, we will reach these goals one hundred years late, in 2115.
This year's World Food Day theme, International Alliance against Hunger, is a way to build greater momentum to achieve our goals.
In 2000, at the Millennium Summit, world leaders agreed to fight hunger, poverty and disease. Placed at the heart of the global agenda, the goal of ending hunger and other development goals are now enshrined in the "Millennium Development Goals."
In 2002, world leaders further agreed to match their commitments with resources and action. And, again in June 2002 in Rome at the World Food Summit; five years later, they re-committed themselves to the fight against hunger. There is no doubt that governments have proclaimed their commitment to reducing hunger. But governments alone cannot solve the difficult problems of hunger and malnutrition.
Many different groups must work together in a united effort. The International Alliance will bring together the strengths of: food producers and consumers, international organizations, agribusiness firms, scientists, academics, donors, policy-makers, private individuals, religious groups, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and all others committed to reducing the suffering caused by hunger.
The good news is that leaders in an increasing number of countries are boldly putting the fight against hunger at the forefront of national priorities. They need our support. These leaders recognize that only when people are well-fed can they take part in their nation's economic and social advancement. We should urge other nations to adopt a similar determination.
On this World Food Day, let us all join together and make a collective call to make the International Alliance against Hunger. Working together, we must urge governments to put in place the right policies and to implement anti-hunger programmes. And, we should remind the international community of its commitments to make more development assistance available for fighting hunger. Let us all give priority to the "war against hunger".