At UN food summit, Ban Ki-moon warns of rise in child hunger deaths
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon warned at UN food summit in Rome that 6 million children die of hunger a year, but critics say new money to tackle the problem is unlikely.
At the start of a global food security summit in Rome on Monday, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon urged donors to help the 1 billion people on the planet who do not have enough to eat. He particularly underscored the plight of children, saying that more than 17,000 children die of starvation every day.Skip to next paragraph
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"One every five seconds. Six million children a year," he said in his opening remarks to the conference. "This is no longer acceptable. We must act."
Some aid groups dismissed the three-day gathering of international leaders as a failure before it had begun, arguing that it won't generate more money to tackle hunger and malnutrition.
The UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), which is organizing the summit, had hoped wealthy countries would promise to increase their annual food aid from $7.9 billion to $44 billion, but a draft declaration leaked before the summit began was short on specifics.
It makes no mention of a proposal to eliminate hunger by 2025 and leaders are expected to simply reaffirm their commitment to the UN's Millennium Development Goal of halving the number of hungry people by 2015.
"The pledges are an encouraging sign, but the $20 billion earmarked funds still have to materialize," he said.
Benedict said there was a "tendency to view hunger as structural, an integral part of the sociopolitical situation of the weakest countries, a matter of resigned regret, if not downright indifference. It is not so, and it must never be so."