World Food Summit dubbed ‘Summit of the Poor’

The BMJ news section recently carried a small item on the World Food Summit held in Rome in June 2002.1 The report stated that heads of state and other officials from more than 180 nations reiterated their plans to halve the number of the world's hungry from 800 million to 400 million by 2015.

The summit was an attempt to raise more funds for the initiative first mooted five years ago. However, the meeting was dubbed 'the summit of the poor' by Dr Jacques Diouf, FAO director (who organised the summit) because so few western leaders attended. The only two top ranking politicians from the 29 countries in the OECD were Italy's Silvio Berlusconi, hosting the summit, and Spain's Aria Anza, obliged to attend because Spain holds the EU's rotating presidency.

Regarding the poor OECD attendance, Dr Diouf said 'if we exclude certain exceptional national circumstances, we still have a good indicator of the political priority that is given to the tragedy of hunger'

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1BMJ (2002) vol 324, 22 June, pp 1476

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World Food Summit dubbed ‘Summit of the Poor’. Field Exchange 17, November 2002. p16. www.ennonline.net/fex/17/world