In June 2002 FAO held a world meeting in order to examine the progress made in eradicating hunger. The purpose of the meeting, which was ennamed World Food Summit: five years later, was to track progress made since the summit of 1996 and consider ways to accelerate these efforts.
Dr. Jacques Diouf, Director General of FAO stated, "The purpose of this event is to give new impetus to worldwide efforts on behalf of hungry people. We must raise both the political will and the financial resources to fight hunger. The international community has repeatedly declared that it is dedicated to the eradication of poverty. Eliminating hunger is a vital first step."
Unfortunately, current data show that the number of undernourished people in the world is falling by an average of just six million per year, which is well below the yearly target of 22 million necessary to achieve the World Food Summit goal. Despite the fact that some headway has been made and despite extraordinary success stories in a number of countries and communities, much remains to be done. World leaders were asked to define the measures needed to achieve the goal, and to suggest ways to accelerate efforts in that direction. Means to increase the resources available for agriculture and rural development were also considered.
At the World Food Summit of 1996, the representatives of 185 countries and the European Community pledged to strive to eradicate hunger. As a first decisive step, they set the goal of halving the number of undernourished in the world by 2015.
The World Food Summit took place from 13 to 17 November 1996. This historic event, convened at FAO headquarters in Rome, comprised five days of meetings at the highest level with representatives from 185 countries and the European Community. The Summit brought together close to 10,000 participants, and provided a forum for debate on one of the most important issues facing world leaders in the new millennium - the imperative of eradicating hunger.
The adoption by 112 Heads or Deputy Heads of State and Government, and by over 70 high-level representatives from other countries, of the Rome Declaration on World Food Security and the World Food Summit Plan of Action, at a meeting which also saw the active involvement of representatives of inter-governmental and non-governmental organizations, helped to influence public opinion and provided a framework for bringing about important changes in policies and programmes needed to achieve Food for All.
In December 1992 the first International Conference on Nutrition (ICN) was held in FAO's Headquarters in Rome. The conference was jointly sponsored by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the World Health Organization (WHO). The ICN was attended by delegations from 159 countries and the European Economic Community, 16 United Nations organizations, 11 intergovernmental organizations, and 144 non-governmental organizations who met to discuss ways to eradicate hunger and malnutrition.
At the 1974 World Food Conference, governments examined the global problem of food production and consumption, and solemnly proclaimed that "every man, woman and child has the inalienable right to be free from hunger and malnutrition in order to develop their physical and mental faculties".