Your Excellency the President of the Senate of the Italian Republic,
Your Majesties,
Your Excellencies Heads of State and Government,
The President of the UN General Assembly,
The Secretary-General of the United Nations,
Distinguished Ministers and Heads of Delegation,
Dear Colleagues Heads of WFP and IFAD,
Honourable Heads of International and Regional Organizations,
The Mayor of Rome,
Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

One billion hungry people, that is one out of every group of six persons in the world, 105 million
more than in 2008, five children dying every 30 seconds. Beyond the numbers, this means
suffering for each of these human beings who is a loved child, mother, father, brother, sister,
family relative, friend, neighbour.

This is our tragic achievement in these modern days when our technology allows us to travel to
the moon and to space stations. It is sad to note that only when “food riots”, with deaths and
injuries, broke out in 22 countries in all the continents during 2007 and 2008, threatening national
government stability and global peace and security, that the issue of hunger became a serious
concern. Unfortunately such interest seems to be waning as other issues are coming to the
forefront of the international agenda, although all the heavy clouds that led to the previous crisis
are again accumulating in the skies.

To increase the awareness of public opinion on the fate of the one billion hungry people in the
world and the tragic death of a baby every six seconds from hunger, a video spot has been
prepared, a dedicated website has been created and an appeal for a hunger strike has been made
by FAO. I hope that we can count on the leaders and delegations present here to assist in the
dissemination of the awareness messages when they return to their respective countries.

Food production must expand by 70 percent in the world and double in developing countries, to
meet the food needs of a world population expected to reach 9.1 billion in 2050. And this will
have to happen in the face of several emerging challenges, particularly climate change and rapid

The High-Level Expert Forum on “How to Feed the World in 2050”, organized by FAO on 12
and 13 October 2009, which brought together 300 of the best experts in various disciplines from
around the world, concluded that the planet can feed itself provided that the decisions made are
honoured and the required resources are effectively mobilized.

In some developed countries, two to four percent of the population are able to produce enough to
feed the entire nation and even to export, while in the majority of developing countries, 60 to 80
percent of the population are not able to meet the country food needs.

The root cause of hunger and malnutrition is underinvestment in agriculture in developing
countries. The part of total official development assistance going to agriculture, including forestry
and fisheries, dropped from 19 percent in 1980 to around 5 percent presently. In 2004,
agriculture-based economies allocated 4 percent of national public spending to the sector, far less
than the 10 percent that Asia spent during the agricultural growth spurt in the 1970s.

Eliminating hunger from the face of the Earth requires 44 billion US dollars of official
development assistance per year to be invested in infrastructure, technology and modern inputs.
This is a small amount if we consider the 365 billion USD of agriculture producer support in
OECD countries in 2007, and if we consider the 1,340 billion USD of military expenditures by
the world in the same year.

In this regard, the shift in policy at the L’Aquila G8 Meeting last July, in favour of increased
production by smallholders in food-deficit developing countries, advocated for years by FAO, is
an encouraging sign. The Joint Statement on Global Food Security included also the decision to
mobilize 20 billion USD over three years. But these are still promises which need to materialize
with concrete financing in place for inputs, equipments and infrastructure for the growing season
which starts in March next year for the northern hemisphere.

Naturally, developing countries need to devote themselves more funds from their budgets to
agriculture, in line with the sector’s contribution to national GDP, export earnings, income
generation and employment. To eradicate hunger, agriculture’s share in government expenditure
of low-income food-deficit countries needs to be raised to 10 percent for investment.

Private investment should be encouraged, from both national and international sources. Relevant
incentives must therefore be introduced. And to safeguard the interests of all parties and prevent
situations of unequal and inequitable exchange, clear laws and regulations should be adopted and
put in place, preferably within the spirit of a code of conduct on agricultural investment in
developing countries.

But over the past five years, several countries in Africa, Latin America and Asia have succeeded
in substantially reducing the number of hungry people in their territories. This means that we
know what should be done to defeat hunger and how to do it.

(One, we need to produce where the poor and hungry live)

Your Excellencies,

Generally, in low-income food-deficit countries, food security programmes and plans exist and
are awaiting political will and financing to become operational.

Following the 1996 and 2002 summits, FAO supported the preparation of National Strategies for
Food Security and Agricultural Development by concerned ministries in 150 developing and
transition countries.

Between 1994 and 2008, with the support of FAO, special programmes for food security were
prepared at national level and implemented in 106 countries to help small farmers increase
productivity and production. Today, 17 large-scale national programmes for food security are
operational and 30 others are in advanced stages of formulation. With regional economic unions,
twelve programmes for food security have been prepared to encourage trade with a special focus
on food quality and safety. All these programmes benefit from the South-South Cooperation
which was launched in 1996 and has allowed the mobilization of 1 477 experts and field
technicians to foster the exchange of experience among developing countries.

In July 2003, the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP),
prepared with the support of FAO, was approved by Heads of State and Government in Maputo,
requiring 25 billion USD of annual investment for its implementation. In that framework,
National Medium-Term Investment Programmes and Bankable Investment Project Profiles were
prepared for 51 African countries for a total budget of 10 billion USD.

Moreover, in the sector of water control for agriculture and energy, a detailed portfolio of 1 000
short-, medium- and long-term projects and investment programmes was prepared for each of the
53 African countries in consultation with relevant ministries for a total financing envelope of 65
billion USD on the occasion of the Ministerial Conference organized by FAO, the African Union
and NEPAD in Sirte in December 2008.

(Two, we need to ensure food safety and sustainable development)

But we need also to ensure food security beyond production. We have to guarantee food quality
and safety for the consumers. We also need protection against pests and diseases of plants and
animals which often directly affect human health. We have likewise to face emergency situations
resulting from natural disasters and to conserve the national resource base of food production to
ensure sustainability.

(Fighting animal diseases)

That is why the programme for Emergency Prevention System (EMPRES) for Transboundary
Animal and Plant Pests and Diseases, which I proposed, was approved by the Council as early as
June 1994. It focused, in the short term, on early warning and early reaction and, in the long term,
on networking centres of excellence to develop efficient and sustainable methods of prevention
and control. And let me give some examples.

Rinderpest: in 1994 FAO initiated the Global Rinderpest Eradication Programme to control a
dreadful disease that killed more than 1 billion cattle in the 1970s and 1980s. Between 1994 and
2009, about 170 countries and territories succeeded in eliminating rinderpest. We are now
working with the OIE to declare the world free from rinderpest in 2010 or 2011. It will be the first
animal disease to be eradicated in the world and the second disease in human history after

African Swine Fever: this disease spread in the late 1950s to Europe from Africa. Since 1994,
control and prevention projects for a total budget of 8 million USD have been implemented by
FAO in different regions, including Africa, the Caucasus and Latin America.

Foot-and-Mouth Disease: despite the early warning provided by FAO in March and November in
2001, actions were not taken urgently. As a result, the United Kingdom had to slaughter millions
of cattle for an overall financial cost of 3 billion USD and huge losses were suffered in Ireland,
France and the Netherlands. From South Africa to Zimbabwe to Uruguay, the disease caused
losses totalling billions of dollars. Since 1994, FAO has implemented 42 national and regional
projects and programmes with a total budget of 65 million USD to control and eradication the

Avian Flu: to avoid the spread of the H5N1 virus in chicken and ducks, FAO adopted between
February and April 2004 four regional TCP projects for the amount of 1.6 million USD to
organize cooperation among 13 Asian countries. But it was only in 2005, when the disease
reached Kazakhstan and Russia on its way to Europe, that significant funding started to flow.
Economic losses to the Asian poultry sector were estimated at around 50 billion USD. FAO, in
May 2005, launched the Global Strategy for the Progressive Control of Highly Pathogenic Avian
Influenza in partnership with OIE and WHO. Since the outbreak in early 2004, FAO’s assistance
included 145 national, regional and global projects for a total amount of 283 million USD
benefiting 130 countries. Thanks to these efforts, the disease has been eradicated in 55 of the 60
infected countries.

H1N1: FAO has also been cooperating with WHO to deal with the outbreak of H1N1. Actions
undertaken include early detection, surveillance and monitoring to avoid the risk of transmission
between humans and animals with possible mutation to a more deadly virus. The Organization
has been providing financial and technical support to strengthen veterinary capacities in Latin
America and the Caribbean, South East Asia, and Africa to improve biosecurity and ensure rapid
coordinated response.

(Protecting plants from pests and diseases)

Desert Locust: in October 2003 FAO issued an international alert on the risks of desert locust
outbreaks in Mauritania, Niger and Sudan. Strong actions however lagged and were initiated only
when the insect started flying and devastating crop fields. By 2005, the livelihoods of about
8 million people were affected in North and Northwest Africa and more than 13 million hectares
had to be sprayed with chemical pesticides to end the plague. In 2006, FAO launched the Desert
Locust Programme for the Western Region to cover nine countries extending from Libya to
Senegal, in the same model as the Central Region Programme which started in 1997. Recently,
unfortunately, infestation has restarted in Mauritania. Operations are ongoing for an early control
of the desert locust to avoid spending again 390 million USD as during the 2003-2005 locust

Ug99: the strain of wheat stem rust disease, which emerged in Uganda in 1999 and reached Iran
in 2007, could have serious impacts on food security. Twenty-nine countries, accounting for 37
percent of global wheat production, are affected or at risk. The economic losses could exceed
7.5 billion USD. To combat this threat, FAO has launched with CIMMYT and ICARDA the
Wheat Rust Disease Global Programme which aims to complement research efforts to develop
resistant varieties and directly support countries affected or at risk.

(Food safety and quality)

Safe and nutritious food supply is being addressed by the FAO/WHO Codex Alimentarius
Commission and the FAO International Plant Protection Convention, two international standard
setting bodies recognized as reference points by the WTO. To ensure the safety of the food we
consume, over 320 standards, guidelines and codes of practice were developed covering major
food products. Today, the date of expiration of perishable goods in the stores is one such example
of standards common to our daily life. In addition, over 3 700 maximum residue limits for various
pesticides and veterinary drugs, some 2 000 Codex food additive provisions and 150 Codex
recommended maximum levels of contaminants and natural toxins have been established.

(Conserving natural resources, biodiversity and the environment)

Significant international treaties and instruments have been concluded under FAO auspices: the
Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries (in 1995); the revised Code of Conduct on the
Distribution and Use of Pesticides (in 2002); the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources
for Food and Agriculture (in 2004); and in cooperation with UNEP, the Rotterdam Convention on
the Prior Informed Consent Procedure for Certain Hazardous Chemicals and Pesticides in
International Trade (in 2004).

FAO also conducts actions and programmes aimed at protecting the environment. Over the past
decade, close to 50 million USD were mobilized to assist 36 countries in eliminating obsolete
pesticides and to build capacity in risk reduction. The Africa Stockpile Programme has become
today a worldwide model.

The Integrated Pest Management programme allowed the increase of yields and the reduction of
the use of chemical pesticides on important crops, such as rice, cotton and vegetables. The Farmer
Field School programme in this area benefited 10 million farmers in 90 countries.

In support to climate change mitigation and adaptation policy, the FAO National Forest
Programme Facility was created in 2002. The Facility is presently supporting 70 countries and
regional organizations. In another major initiative, FAO established in 2008, in partnership with
UNEP and UNDP, the United Nations Collaborative Programme on Reducing Emissions from
Deforestation and Forest Degradation in Developing Countries, known as UN-REDD. It is being
implemented in nine pilot countries. A global forest monitoring system was launched last month
in support of carbon accounting and payments under REDD.

(Dealing effectively with emergencies)

Your Excellencies,

About 200 million people are affected by natural disasters every year. In these situations, the
Organization has to move quickly to restore agricultural production capacity and help in the
rehabilitation efforts.

In response to the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami one of the largest programmes for the recovery of
fisheries-, agriculture- and forestry-based livelihoods was implemented with 75 projects in
Indonesia, Maldives, Myanmar, Seychelles, Somalia, Sri Lanka and Thailand.

FAO has been operating 468 emergency projects in 96 countries for a total delivery in 2008-2009
of 632 million USD, financed almost entirely from voluntary contributions.

As part of these activities, poor farmers in developing countries were able to access costly seeds,
fertilizers, animal feed and other inputs under the Initiative on Soaring Food Prices which was
launched in December 2007. These projects, valued at nearly 400 million USD, were
implemented in 93 countries with FAO’s own resources and trust fund voluntary contributions. I
would like to take this opportunity to thank most sincerely the European Union for the generous
and timely contribution of 285 million USD to this initiative, through its Food Facility.

(Prevention, preparedness and early warning)

FAO has been able to provide effective early warnings of food shortages and emergencies thanks
to its Global Information and Early Warning System (GIEWS). Relevant information on future
trends in agricultural development and underlying issues and also statistical databases, economic
analyses and projections are available and regularly updated.

That is why, as early as September 2007, FAO was able to alert the international community,
through press releases, internet postings, op-eds, interviews and data, about the then-looming
global food crisis triggered by high prices.

Your Excellencies,

This is only a small sample of what the Organization has been doing despite a 22-percent cut in its
regular programme budget in real terms since 1994 and a 32-percent reduction in personnel.
During the same period its membership increased from 169 to 192 Members and its activities and
programmes in the field, in support of smallholder farmers, expanded.

The Independent External Evaluation Report has stated, and I quote, “There is a serious
misperception in some quarters as to the size and resources of FAO”. The total staff of FAO at
headquarters and in the field in all regions of the world is 3 770. Its regular programme budget is
USD 500 million per year. As a matter of interest, trust funds from voluntary contributions to
implement projects have been increasing and are expected to reach 1 billion USD in 2009.

The Organization initiated a reform process as early as 1994 and more recently in 2004. Then in
2006, after a totally independent external evaluation, it embarked on the most comprehensive
member country-led reform in the UN System, to deeply transform itself to a more efficient and
effective organization. It is now implementing the Immediate Plan of Action 2009-2011 for FAO
Renewal approved by the Governing Bodies.

(Finally, we need to put in place effective and efficient governance)

The reform document of the Committee on World Food Security (CFS) adopted by consensus last
month is an important step towards improving food security governance. The new CFS will
become the foremost inclusive international and intergovernmental platform dealing with food
security and nutrition at global, national and local levels. The CFS secretariat, located in FAO and
headed by an FAO Secretary, will include staff from the other Rome based agencies (WFP and
IFAD). Further arrangements and possible changes should be decided by the CFS plenary in

A High-Level Panel of Experts will provide the CFS with the best scientific analyses and
syntheses to ensure the credibility of decisions made.

But the CFS needs political legitimacy through government representation at ministerial level, in
particular with the involvement of ministers of cooperation and development.

Your Excellencies,

I wish now, as requested, to speak on behalf of all three UN Rome-based agencies whose mission
is to address food security. I am conscious of this great responsibility as Kanayo Nwanze,
President of IFAD, Josette Sheeran, Executive Director of the World Food Programme, and I
continue to work together to put food security at the top of the global agenda. We held a historic
meeting on November 4 with all our senior staff.

Just last week we finalized, with Board approval from all three agencies, a strategy for intensified
cooperation. This is the culmination of a two-year effort that joins our unique strengths to create a
more powerful whole, building on a portfolio of nearly 400 cooperative efforts in more than 70
countries. This comprehensive approach brings together FAO, IFAD and WFP joint expertise and
capacity in agriculture, food security, natural resource management, financing for developing
countries and smallholder farmers, and also provision of effective hunger and nutrition solutions
for the world’s most vulnerable. In this way, we are helping nations implement comprehensive
food security strategies. By working together we ensure food security through increased
agricultural production and broadened food access through emergency response and safety nets.

Before concluding, allow me to express my sincere thanks to the participants in this Summit, and
especially to His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI and the Heads of State and Government who
despite their heavy obligations have chosen to give priority to attending a world gathering to
improve the conditions of one billion hungry people.

I wish to express my appreciation to the host country, Italy, for its great hospitality. My gratitude
goes also to all those who provided financial support for this Summit and especially to the
Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia whose donation was crucial
for our meeting which is entirely financed by trust fund contributions outside the regular budget
of FAO.

I would like also to salute the First Ladies of the Non-Aligned Movement who, under the able
leadership of Madame Suzanne Mubarak, the First Lady of the Arab Republic of Egypt, organized
a meeting yesterday at FAO on the occasion of the Summit. A Message from the meeting will be
read to the Plenary on her behalf.

Your Excellencies,

By adopting the Declaration prepared by Member Nations before us today and making sure it
translates concretely into improving the living conditions of the poor and hungry in the world, 70
percent of whom live in rural areas, we will cross a historic milestone in achieving our goal – a
world without hunger.

I thank you for your kind attention.