Press Releases

     
    For information only - not an official document.
      UNIS/DSG/49
        31 October 2000
     Deputy Secretary-General Seeks Strategies for All-out War on Hunger
     

     NEW YORK, 30 October (UN Headquarters) -- Following is the text of the statement to the Economic and Social Council made this morning by Deputy Secretary-General Louise Frechette:

     I am pleased to join you, Mr. President, in welcoming Mr. Al-Sultan, Ms. Bertini and Mr. Diouf to the first-ever meeting of the United Nations Economic and Social Council with the heads of the three Rome-based food agencies -– the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), the World Food Programme (WFP) and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) -- which are instrumental in leading the global campaign to eliminate hunger in the new millennium. 

     Our main aim today should be to stress two messages about hunger:  first, that hunger is not just a sectoral concern but rather is an issue of central political, social and moral import; and second, that the fight against hunger must be fought on a broad front.

     You are all well aware that, in today's world, more than 800 million people go hungry every day, including one in three sub-Saharan Africans.  Losses in productivity and problems related to health make hunger not just an individual tragedy but an economic handicap for communities and entire nations.

     That is why the eradication of hunger is such a key element in the United Nations system's efforts to promote durable peace and sustainable development.  And it is why heads of State and government pledged in their Millennium Summit Declaration to eradicate hunger in all nations, and specifically to reduce by half the number of undernourished people by the year 2015.  We must do all we can to meet this goal.

     This meeting rightly focuses on the special needs of Africa, particularly those areas of the continent where drought continues to have devastating effects on food security.  This will be a useful contribution to the high-level segment of the next substantive session of the Economic and Social Council, which will focus on sustainable development in Africa.

     The globalizing world economy is creating great opportunities for many people.  But deprivation and economic despair remain the lot of all-too-many members of the human family.  This meeting can help build a strong consensus on how to address these inequities, and in particular how to wage an all-out war on hunger and malnutrition.  This meeting can also help forge the new partnerships -- among United Nations agencies and organizations, governments, civil society actors and private enterprise -- that are needed if we are to succeed.

     The Secretary-General is grateful to this Council for this timely initiative, and to all of you for your commitment to concerted action in this area.  I look forward to your presentations and to our dialogue.  

    Thank you very much.

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