More than 150 countries to mark World Food Day

More than 150 countries are scheduled to observe World Food Day on Tuesday by kicking off a series of events including sports contests and a global candlelight vigil, the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) has said.

“This year’s World Food Day theme, The Right to Food, highlights a basic human right that is often ignored as severe food insecurity continues to afflict more than 850-million people,” the Rome-based United Nations agency said in a statement.

The FAO celebrates World Food Day each year on October 16, the day the organisation was founded in Quebec City, Canada, in 1945.

On Tuesday, the FAO’s Rome headquarters is set to host the main ceremony featuring as speakers German President Horst Koehler and his Tanzanian counterpart, Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete, as well as FAO director general Jacques Diouf.

A number of civil society organisations are due to hold a round-table discussion on The Right Way to Fight Hunger at FAO headquarters on the same day, while a “Run-for-Food” race will take place in Rome on October 21 as well as in Guinea and Nigeria.

A global candlelight vigil will begin the evening of October 22 in Samoa and move across the world’s time zones through various cities including Yokohama, Japan, Yrevan, Armenia, Lusaka, Zambia, Bratislava, Slovakia, Quito, Ecuador and Rome, where the vigil will be held at the Colosseum.

Debates and conferences linked to World Food Day are also scheduled to take place in Austria, Finland, Ireland and Sweden, the FAO said.

Spain, which plans a month of events related to World Food Day, has slated a fund-raising television gala, while the Spanish football league will dedicate two weeks of games with the participation of FAO goodwill ambassador and Real Madrid captain Raul Gonzalez.

Egypt is scheduled to host a 10-day Arab Music Festival dedicated to the FAO and its fight against hunger, a fund-raising gala dinner, seminars and major exhibits in Cairo.

Colombia will mark World Food Day with a concert by singer Fanny Lu, while in El Salvador, First Lady Ana Ligia Mixco de Saca will deliver a speech at the Summit of First Ladies in El Salvador on the right to food, the FAO said.

Thailand will celebrate World Food Day with a regional symposium attended by Crown Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn, while Japan will organise a TeleFood television fund-raising concert in Yokohama.—Sapa-dpa

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