United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon arrived in Rome on Sunday afternoon, 15 November, to attend the World Food Security Summit.
On Monday, in addressing the Summit, the Secretary-General told delegates: “This day, more than 17,000 children will die of hunger. One every five seconds.” In a stark message, he stressed the heavy human costs of the food crisis, the need for a comprehensive approach and the deep interconnection between food security and climate change. “There can be no food security without climate security,” he said. “Our job is not just to feed the hungry but to empower the hungry to feed themselves,” he added. (See Press Release SG/SM/12606.)
Later, during a press encounter at the headquarters of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the Secretary-General spoke of the upcoming climate conference in December: “I remain positive about Copenhagen,” he said. “There is much convergence,” he added, “on a shared vision and in the areas of adaptation, technology and capacity-building. I am fighting for a real deal in Copenhagen. A deal that paves the way for a binding global climate treaty. Such a deal will lay the foundation for food security for all.”
During that day, the Secretary-General visited World Food Programme (WFP) headquarters in Rome to pay tribute to the five WFP colleagues recently killed in Pakistan. He thanked the staff for their “extraordinary dedication to the world’s people”. Whether on the frontlines in the world’s emergency zones, or supporting that work from Rome or other offices,” he said, “the World Food Programme does more than feed people. It gives them hope.” (See Press Release SG/SM/12608.)
On Monday evening, the Secretary-General and Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini hosted an informal meeting for Heads of State and Government and for senior ministers. They held in-depth discussions on the link between food security and climate change and the necessity of forging a meaningful deal during December’s United Nations Climate Conference in Copenhagen.
In the margins of the Summit, the Secretary-General met separately on Sunday with President Mohamed Hosni Mubarak of Egypt, Colonel Muammar al-Qadhafi of Libya, and with President Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete of the United Republic of Tanzania. On Monday, he met with Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, with the Prime Minister of Italy, Silvio Berlusconi, with President Michelle Bachelet Jeria of Chile, with the Vice Premier of the State Council of China, Hui Liangyu, with Amre Moussa, Secretary-General of the League of Arab States, and with the Prime Minister of Guinea, Kabine Komara.
On Tuesday, he held bilateral meetings with the Prime Minister of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, and with General François Bozizé, President of the Central African Republic. The main subjects raised were the links between climate change and food security, as well as the longer-term impacts of climate change on migration and political stability, with the Secretary-General urging the leaders he met to attend the United Nations Climate Conference in Copenhagen in December.
The Secretary-General also held separate meetings with the heads of the three Rome-based United Nations agencies, at their respective headquarters -- FAO Director-General Jacques Diouf; WFP Executive Director Josette Sheeran; and the President of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), Kanayo Nwanze.
The Secretary-General returned to New York late on Tuesday, 17 November.