ROME, Italy, June 16, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — Chile, China and Morocco today won recognition from FAO for outstanding progress in fighting hunger, an achievement that sees them join a growing group of countries to have reached international targets ahead of an end-of-2015 deadline.
During a ceremony at FAO headquarters, the Organization’s Director-General, José Graziano da Silva, awarded diplomas to China and Morocco for obtaining the Millennium Development Goal 1 (MDG-1). Chile, which had already reached its MDG-1 target, received the diploma for achieving the 1996 World Food Summit (WFS) target.
The MDG-1 hunger target requires countries to halve the proportion of hungry people in the population before the end of 2015 compared to the level in 1990. The more ambitious WFS goal requires countries to at least halve the number of hungry people in the population before the end of 2015 compared to the level in 1990.
“One year ago we celebrated the first 38 countries that had achieved the MDG target, three years in advance of the 2015 deadline. 18 of them had also met the World Food Summit target. Now we come together to recognize three more countries for their efforts,” Graziano da Silva said.
He stressed that the overall global objective remains the total eradication of hunger and malnutrition. “Even today, in a world of abundant food over 840 million people are still undernourished,” the FAO Director-General said. “Ensuring food security and helping people overcome extreme poverty are the first steps to build the inclusive future we want, in which nobody is left behind,” he added.
Chile’s Minister of Agriculture Carlos Furche, Morocco’s Minister of Agriculture and Marine Fisheries, Aziz Akhannouch, and China’s Vice Minister of Agriculture, Chen Xiaohua, represented their respective countries at the ceremony.
The WFS goal was set in 1996, when 180 nations met in Rome to discuss ways to end hunger. The MDG 1 target was established by the international community at the UN General Assembly in 2000.
Transforming commitment into effective action
Forty countries have now achieved the MDG -1 while of these, 19 have achieved the WFS target. Such achievements, the FAO chief said, show how “the political commitment of governments is being transformed into effective action and concrete results in the fight against hunger.”
He pointed out “strong regional commitments that support and stimulate national efforts to end hunger” including the 2025 Latin America and Caribbean Hunger-Free Initiative, moves by the African Union to endorse a zero hunger target for 2025 and the Asia-Pacific’s embracing of the UN Zero Hunger Challenge.
“These are efforts that are supported by non-state actors and by the international community. They show that food security can be a reality in our lifetime,” Graziano da Silva said.
During the ceremony, the FAO chief also commended 16 countries for having maintained their hunger rates below 5 percent dating back to at least 1990: Argentina, Barbados, Dominica, Brunei Darussalam, Egypt , Iran (Islamic Republic of), Kazakhstan, Lebanon, Malaysia, Mexico, Republic of Korea, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Tunisia, Turkey, United Arab Emirates.
Awards are based on statistics produced by FAO using data provided by member countries and other international agencies.
In an effort to seek renewed global commitment to ending hunger and in particular ensuring that people around the world have access to healthier diets, FAO and the United Nations World Health Organization (WHO) will co-organize a high-level, global intergovernmental meeting, the Second International Conference on Nutrition (ICN2) which is scheduled to take place in Rome on 19-21 November 2014.