Fifty years after the founding of the Food and Agriculture Organization, global food production has increased steadily and a substantial decline in the prevalence of undernutrition has occurred. Despite this progress, FAO estimates that more than 800 million people do not have access to enough food to meet their basic daily needs. In addition, more than 40 percent of the world's entire population, 2.000 million people, have deficiencies in one or more micronutrients.
Recognizing the gravity of this situation, FAO and the World Health
Organization (WHO) convened the first global conference devoted solely to
addressing the world's nutrition problems, the International Conference on
Nutrition (ICN), at FAO Headquarters in
For the three years leading up to the ICN, intense preparatory
activities were undertaken throughout the world. Governments prepared papers
describing the food and nutrition situation within their countries, the factors
influencing the nutritional status of the people and the groups within the
population that were vulnerable to nutrition problems. State-of-the-art
technical papers were prepared for the conference, and experts, policy-makers
and planners from around the world participated in regional and national
meetings. At the August 1992 Preparatory Committee Meeting held at WHO
During the ICN, governments pledged to make all efforts to eliminate or reduce substantially, before the next millennium, starvation and famine; widespread chronic hunger; under-nutrition, especially among children, women and the aged; micronutrient deficiencies, especially iron, iodine and vitamin A deficiencies; diet-related communicable and non-communicable diseases; impediments to optimal breast-feeding; and inadequate sanitation, poor hygiene and unsafe drinking-water.
The World Declaration on Nutrition and Plan of Action for Nutrition also serve as a guide to the technical issues of nutrition policy and programme development. Nine priority themes are elaborated in the Plan of Action for Nutrition:
· incorporating nutritional objectives, considerations and components into development policies and programmes;
· improving household food security;
· protecting consumers through improved food quality and safety;
· preventing and managing infectious diseases;
· promoting breast-feeding;
· caring for the socio-economically deprived and nutritionally vulnerable;
· preventing and controlling specific micronutrient deficiencies;
· promoting appropriate diets and healthy lifestyles;
· assessing, analysing and monitoring nutrition situations.
Many governments, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and international agencies have maintained the momentum created by the conference. Each in its respective realm of work is striving to carry out the commitments made at the conference, and many are undertaking new initiatives.
The photo shows Pope John Paul II being welcomed to FAO Headquarters by the Directors-General of FAO and WHO, Edouard Saouma and Hiroshi Nakajima, and by Ibrahim Adam, Minister of Agriculture, Ghana, Chairperson of the ICN Preparatory Committee on the occasion of the opening of the conference (photo: FAO).
The text of the World Declaration on Nutrition on the website of FAO.
Niger November 1993
Sovereign Military Order of Malta
last revised: 25 February 2008