With global hunger a top concern, UN launches online drive to spur action

FAO unfurled megabanners on its Rome headquarters inviting people to sign the petition against hunger

11 May 2010 – The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) launched a major online drive today to spur action to eliminate hunger and highlight the fact that one in six people worldwide go hungry everyday.

Through the “1billionhungry project” people can voice their outrage about world hunger by adding their names to an online petition. The campaign uses a yellow whistle as an icon encouraging people to blow the whistle against this global scourge.

“We should be extremely angry for the outrageous fact that that our fellow human beings continue to suffer from hunger,” said FAO Director-General Jacques Diouf.

The petition urges governments to make the elimination of hunger their top priorityIf you feel the same way, I want you to voice that anger. All of you, rich and poor, young and old, in developing and developed countries, express your anger about world hunger by adding your names to the global 1billion hungry petition at http://www.1billionhungry.org,” Mr. Diouf said.

The online petition features a one minute video made by British actor Jeremy Irons in which he plays a character inspired by Peter Finch in the film “Network” where he says he is “mad as hell.”

As the world grapples with earthquakes, storms, financial disasters, we still think we are connected with all the people in the world, Jeremy Irons said in the video, “But that’s not true. People around the world suffer hunger. Chronic hunger. One billion people. One billion of us. Now that’s bad. Worse than bad – that’s crazy.”

The petition urges governments to make the elimination of hunger their top priority.

“We who support the petition find it unacceptable that one in six people are chronically hungry. Through the United Nations, we call upon governments to make the elimination of hunger their top priority until the goal is reached,” the message reads.

A global activity map tracks the number of people who signed up. FAO said it hopes the petition will spread through social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

Events in support of the petition launch are organized through FAO offices around the world. US Olympic athlete Carl Lewis and French soccer player Patrick Vieira are among those who will take part.

Mr. Vieira is FAO’s newest Goodwill Ambassador, tasked with speaking up for the organization in its fight against hunger. “When FAO asked me to join its ranks in the fight it leads against hunger in the world, I didn’t hesitate for a second,” he said.

The Association of European Professional Football Leagues will present a video with football players voicing their anger, and sponsor a “Match Day against Hunger” later in the year.

Recording artists Anggun, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Dionne Warwick, Fanny Lu, Mory Kanté Noa, and Chucho Valdés have donated music for the campaign.

Civil society organizations, including the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts, will promote the campaign through their own networks.

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