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posted 06/28/04

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African Governments and United Nations Leaders to Announce Action Plans to Cut Hunger in Africa

women in rural kitchen in Ethiopia

An Ethiopian rural kitchen near Alem Kitmama, northeast of Addis-Ababa, Ethiopia, June 2002. A July seminar in Addis-Ababa hosted by the Millennium Project and Ethiopia will focus on solving the major problems related to hunger in Africa. Photo Credit: WHO/P. Virot

Two hundred million of the world's hungry live in Africa. Recognizing that a "business as usual" approach will not significantly reduce hunger, on July 5, 2005, an extraordinary gathering of African Heads of State, government ministers, world leaders and hunger experts will focus on practical, innovative solutions to halve the number of hungry and malnourished people in Africa by 2015. 

Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi and the United Nation's Millennium Project Hunger Task Force are convening the high-level gathering, which will identify policies and technologies that together could resolve the problem of widespread hunger and malnutrition. The actions will focus on improving the nutrition of vulnerable groups, raising agricultural productivity of small farms, and improving market functions. 

What: A high-level seminar on Solutions to Hunger: Innovative Approaches to Meet the Hunger Millennium Development Goal for Africa

When: Monday July 5, 2004, 9am-7pm

Where: Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

World leaders and experts addressing the meeting include:
• Kofi Annan, United Nations Secretary-General
• H.E. Meles Zenawi, Prime Minister of Ethiopia
• Jeffrey D. Sachs, Director, Earth Institute at Columbia University, and Special Advisor to the Secretary-General
• Jacques Diouf, Food and Agriculture Organization Director General
• H.E. Alpha Oumar Konare, Chair, African Union Commission
• H.E. Joaquim Alberto Chissano, Chair, African Union
• Pedro Sanchez, Director, Tropical Agriculture Program at the Earth Institute, chair of the U.N. Millennium Task Force on Hunger, and 2003 World Food Prize Laureate

In addition, presidents of eleven African nations are expected to participate, five of whom — from Ethiopia, Ghana, Uganda, Kenya, and Senegal — will present country action plans to fight hunger. Representatives of civil society, the private sector, and a number of donor agencies will also participate in the event.

Halving hunger by 2015 is one of eight Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) adopted by UN member states in reduce global poverty. The Millennium

Project is charged with advising United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan on strategies to achieve these goals, which address poverty, hunger, education, health, gender, environment, water, urban development, international trade, and science and technology policy.

"There is no reason why people today should be starving," says Jeffrey Sachs, Director of the Millennium Project and the Earth Institute at Columbia University. "No rich-country citizen has to compromise his standard of living in order to end extreme hunger. It would make sense for the world's rich countries to pitch in the tiny percentage of their wealth necessary to solve this problem."

"Solutions already exist to many of the worst hunger problems," says Pedro Sanchez, co-chair of the Millennium Project's Hunger Task Force.

The Task Force has identified "hunger hot spots" in Africa, and the most vulnerable populations. It has developed an overall strategy to overcome hunger that includes restoring budgetary priority to agriculture as an engine of economic growth, empowering women, and promoting community-based hunger-reduction actions that will boost agricultural production, improve nutrition, develop rural markets and infrastructure, and promote environmental sustainability.

The Addis Hunger Seminar will be held on July 5th, immediately before the African Union Summit (July 6-7, 2004), which is also taking place in Addis Ababa.

View seminar agenda.

For more on the Earth Institute's Tropical Agriculture Program, including the Hunger Task Force, see
For more on the Millennium Project and the Hunger Task Force see
For more on the United Nations Development Program see