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Europe: Two events to stimulate action on food security, says FAO

EXPO Milano 2015, with its food security-oriented theme, and an international nutrition conference coming up in Rome in November 2014, will be “emblematic efforts that help shape the sustainable future we want, said director-general José Graziano da Silva of Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO UN).

“We need to act now, forcefully, to reach a world in which there is no over- or under-nutrition,” he said at a round-table discussion linked to EXPO 2015.

He called for broad action to “ensure adequate food security and nutrition for all,” and to support sustainable, inclusive, social and economic development.

“The fact is that hunger and malnutrition are two of the major preventable catastrophes affecting our world,” said Silva.

“And any form of malnutrition has a terrible and costly individual, social and economic impact. While hunger and malnutrition remain, we will continue to witness immense suffering.”

Graziano da Silva, head of the UN lead agency on food security, nutrition and agriculture issues, pointed out that 840 million people were chronically hungry, and more than 160 million children suffered from stunted growth, while two billion people globally experienced various forms of malnutrition.

“About 45% of all child deaths are linked to malnutrition. And even if the child survives, his or her future will most probably be compromised because of inadequate nutrition in its early days.”

Yet, he stressed, the cause was not a shortage of food globally, but obstacles faced by people around the world in gaining access to adequate, safe, nutritious food or the means to produce or buy it.

EXPO 2015, ICN2

EXPO 2015’s theme, “Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life,” is at the heart of the UN’s founding principles to combat hunger and poverty.

The exposition will run in Milan, Italy for six months from May 2015 until the end of October 2015.

The theme touches on food security and nutrition, sustainability, poverty reduction, development and cooperation, all among priority themes in the work of the UN and FAO.

From November 19 to 21, 2014, FAO and the World Health Organization (WHO) will host the Second International Conference on Nutrition (ICN2) at FAO’s headquarters in Rome.

Pope Francis is among those planning to attend the nutrition conference, lending his voice to an international groundswell of support in the fight against malnutrition, a major, though frequently hidden, dimension of hunger.