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November 30, 10

NEWS / Over 3 million people sign UN-drafted petition urging action to end hunger

30 November 2010 – A United Nations-drafted petition with the signatures of over three million people calling on world leaders to eliminate hunger was presented today to governments in Rome.

The petition, and its accompanying campaign, was the initiative of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), whose initial goal was to collect one million signatures.

“People from all over the globe are demanding change, urging political leaders to take action and to tackle the root causes of hunger and food insecurity,” said FAO Director-General Jacques Diouf.

“I very much hope that their voices will be heard. Defeating hunger is a realistic goal for our time, as long as lasting political, economic, financial and technical solutions are adopted.”

The agency puts the number of chronically hungry people worldwide at 925 million. Last year, the global economic downturn and rising food prices pushed the figure past the one billion mark for the first time in history.

The petition is part of FAO’s ‘The 1billionhungry project’ which is supported by international celebrities, renowned athletes, actors, singers, intellectuals, and European football stars, some of whom, including actress Susan Sarandon and singer Celine Dion, serve as goodwill ambassadors for the agency.

A key feature of the campaign was the use of social networks such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, to share educational material on hunger, as well as to spread the news about the petition and call for signatures at www.1billionhungry.org/.

The campaign also gained the support of a number of world leaders, including Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, Argentinean President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, the Prime Minister of Nepal, Madhav Kumar, and Rwandan President Paul Kagame.

“The success of the 1billion campaign lends even greater urgency and meaning to our work. It gives us allies that we did not have before. And this movement will continue, as we are now entering into a new phase,” Mr. Diouf, adding that the campaign intends to keep hunger in the public eye, offer more ways for people to get involved and highlight successful anti-hunger schemes.




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