The historic center of Rome will be the scene of a foot race with a distance of five kilometers, one of the events to take place in over 150 countries on the occasion of World Food Day, on October 16th 2006.
Departing from the stadium in the vicinity of the FAO's Rome headquarters, the sporting event will be held on Sunday October 15th and will include the area around the Circus Maximus, Piazza Venezia and the Colosseum. It is expected the participation of between 2 000 and 5 000 runners. At the same time has organized an international exhibition of culinary culture, with performances of folk groups from various countries.
On World Food Day (WFD) each year recalls the date of founding of FAO on 16th October 1945.
This year's celebration at the headquarters of the Organization in Rome will include a musical performance by a Goodwill Ambassador of FAO, the participation of a guest speaker, a message from Pope Benedict XVI and the submission of videos of World Food Day and the Goodwill Ambassadors Will.
The theme this year is "Investing in agriculture for food security," which recalls how, despite the importance of agriculture as the driving force of the economies in many developing countries, this sector often suffers from a lack of investment. In particular, foreign aid to agriculture has suffered a sharp decline over the past 20 years.
In 2003, the Heads of State and Government pledged by African "Maputo Declaration" spent at least 10 percent of their national budgets to agriculture and rural development in a period of five years. Despite the needs, international assistance to these sectors has been steadily decreasing.
Down in foreign aid for agriculture
Foreign aid for agriculture has fallen dramatically, from a total of 9 000 million U.S. dollars in the early 1980s to less than 5 000 million at the end of the 1990s. Meanwhile, nearly 854 million people around the world remain undernourished. Only investment in agriculture, along with support for education and health will make a change.
In 1996, the Heads of State and Government from 176 countries committed during the World Food Summit in Rome to halve the number of victims of hunger in the world for 2015. World leaders have acknowledged the need for greater investment in agriculture as a key factor in eradicating hunger.
Investing in infrastructure in rural areas, especially in water, roads, power and communications plays a crucial role in promoting agricultural growth. If these conditions are fulfilled, agriculture and poor rural households in developing countries can expect huge profits.
As part of its commitment to the Plan of Action of the World Food Summit of 1996, World leaders have indicated to explore "new ways of mobilizing public and private financial resources to achieve food security."
Following the World Food Summit five years later (2001), an agreement was reached to establish an International Alliance Against Hunger (IAAH). This is a voluntary association of institutions and agencies at local, national and international levels aimed at eradicating hunger and poverty in the world. The Alliance seeks to mobilize the necessary political will and develop concrete actions.
The IAAH lends support to countries to form national alliances, focusing on direct investments towards agriculture and rural development to increase food security. To date there are 25 national Alliances and 23 are at the stage of creation.