FAO fights for the Right to Food
week, with more than 150 countries organising around the theme The
Right to Food.
World Food Day has taken place on October 16 - the anniversary of the foundation of the UN's Food and Agriculture Organization - every year since 1980. This year's theme is particularly pertinent in light of concerns over food security. So far this year the FAO has raised concerns about the impact of climate change, food prices, and biofuels of food security around the world. Food insecurity is understood to affect some 850m people around the world - yet the right to sufficient, nutritionally adequate and culturally acceptable food for an active, healthy life is seen as a basic human right. "It is the right to feed oneself with dignity, rather than the right to be fed," says the FAO, which has had recognition of the right to food as a target since the 1996 World Food Summit. To this end, it has a set of voluntary guidelines to improve food security and alleviate poverty. Activities based around this year's World Food Day include: A ceremony at FAO headquarters, with speakers including FAO director-general Jacques Diouf. German president Horst Köhler, and Tanzanian president Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete. The HQ will also host a round-table discussion on The Right Way to Fight Hunger, held by civil society organizations. An event on humanitarian assistance and the Right to Food will take place in Geneva, on October 17, attended by UN special rapporteur on the Right to Food Jean Ziegler A World Food Day event will be held at UN Headquarters in New York on 18 October. Actress Gabriele Loneck will give a monologue on the speeches and writings of Eleanor Roosevelt on Human Rights and the Right to Food. A Run-for-Food race will take place on 21 October in Rome, Guinea, Nigeria, and in other locations. A global candlelight vigil will begin the evening of 22 October in Samoa and move across the world's time zones through various cities. In Rome, the Municipality is organising a vigil at the Colosseum. Other countries are spreading the occasion over an extended time period. For instance, Spain has planned a whole month of events, including a fund-raising television gala. The Spanish soccer league will dedicate two weeks of games to the cause, with the participation of FAO Goodwill Ambassador and Real Madrid captain, Raúl. In Egypt, a 10-day Arab Music Festival dedicated to FAO and its fight against hunger. A fund-raising gala dinner, seminars and major exhibits will take place in Cairo. Hungary has a week-long programme schedules, and Italy has over 100 activities planned. As part of Mali's week-long awareness week, it is holding a mega concert in Bamako on October 26, featuring African FAO goodwill ambassadors.