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World Food Day Focuses on Food Prices and Horn of Africa Crisis

17 October 2011: International organizations participated in events across the world marking World Food Day on 17 October 2011 under the theme: “Food prices – from crisis to stability.”

The increase in food prices and subsequent impacts on nutrition and development were discussed across World Food Day events, highlighting the role that climate change plays in increasing vulnerability to food insecurity. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO), the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the World Food Programme (WFP) held a ceremony at FAO headquarters, also marking the 60th anniversary of the FAO's presence in Rome, Italy. The ceremony, which included speeches from the Heads of the three Rome-based UN Food Agencies and other dignitaries, was complemented by a roundtable “Roma Incontra” with a focus on food security and the Horn of Africa.

At the ceremony, Pope Benedict XVI called for immediate and long-term solutions to the Crisis in the Horn of Africa. FAO Director-General Jacques Diouf underscored the need for over $80 million in additional investment annually, in particular in building the resilience of countries and the poor to respond to shocks. Michelle Bachelet, UN Under-Secretary-General, called for increased attention to discrimination faced by women and girls, including women farmers. At the ceremony, Actor Jeremy Irons was appointed as the FAO goodwill ambassador. The ceremony was followed by the opening of the 37th session of the UN Committee on World Food Security.

Another key event held to mark the Day was the annual Borlaug Dialogue- The World Food Prize in Des Moines, US, attended by numerous intergovernmental organizations, including the African Development Bank (AfDB). Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, former President of Brazil and John Agyekum Kufor, former President of Ghana, were jointly awarded the 2011 World Food Prize for their roles in creating and implementing government policies to alleviate hunger and poverty in their respective countries. [African Development Bank Press Release] [FAO Event Press Release] [FAO Press Release] [World Food Prize Website]