Biotech Updates

FAO Concludes World Food Summit

November 20, 2009

The head of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization Jacques Diouf concluded the World Food Summit by affirming that it is possible to free the world from hunger but called for a "move from words to actions." The World Food Summit, held earlier this week in Rome, brought together 60 heads of state and 191 ministers from 182 countries and the European community. Diouf said that the Summit produced four important commitments. These include:
  • a firm pledge to renew efforts to achieve the First Millennium Development Goals of halving hunger by 2015,
  • a pledge to improve international coordination and the governance of food security through a profound reform of FAO's Committee on World Food Security (CFS),
  • a promise to reverse the downward trend in funding for agriculture, food security and rural development in developing countries, and
  • a decision to promote new investments in agricultural production and productivity in the third world.

However several critics questioned the Summit's outcome. All but one of the G8 leaders, Italy's Silvio Berlusconi, failed to attend the Summit. Even Diouf himself acknowledged that the Summit "didn't go as far" as he had hoped. "To my regret the official Declaration adopted by the Summit this past Monday contains neither measurable targets nor specific deadlines which would have made it easier to monitor implementation," Diouf said. The UN Agency said that world hunger can be eradicated if rich countries hand over USD 44 billion a year.

Read for more information. The transcript of Diouf's closing speech is available at