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World Food Day stresses climate change, bioenergy effects on poor
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Climate change and bioenergy are the focus of this year's World Food Day activities, expected to involve over 150 countries, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) said on Friday.

FAO celebrates World Food Day each year on Oct. 16, the day on which the Organization was founded in 1945.

"Global warming is already underway and adaptation strategies are now a matter of urgency, especially for the most vulnerable poor countries. Hundreds of millions of small-scale farmers, fishers and forest-dependent people will be worst hit by climate change," said Alexander Mueller, FAO Assistant Director-General for Natural Resources Management and Environment Department.

"Adaptation strategies, especially for the most vulnerable poor countries, where most of the over 920 million hungry people live, need to be urgently developed, reviewing land use plans, food security programs, fisheries and forestry policies to protect the poor from climate change," said Mueller.

The FAO Committee on World Food Security, with representatives from more than 100 countries and a number of civil society organizations, will meet in Rome on Oct. 14-17 to assess trends in the world food security and nutrition situation.

The First Lady of Egypt, Suzanne Mubarak, will be the keynote speaker at the World Food Day Ceremony in Rome next Thursday.

Former US President Bill Clinton will participate in a World Food Day ceremony at the United Nations in New York on Oct. 23.

Major World Food Day events are planned in Albania, Egypt, Morocco, South Korea and a number of Asian and Latin American countries during October. For example, the president of Colombia will participate in WFD event in Medellin. In Ecuador, roundtable discussions and seminars on the WFD theme are scheduled.

A third edition of the popular Run for Food will take place in Rome on Oct. 19 involving over 4,000 people with a similar event to be held simultaneously in Milan.

Together with the European Professional Football League (EPFL), FAO will also launch its Professional Football against Hunger initiative on Oct. 15 in Rome. This campaign, with a special emphasis on raising awareness among young people, will involve 960 clubs that are EPFL members.

Among other activities, the Royal Swedish Academy of Agriculture and Forestry will hold a WFD seminar in Stockholm on Oct. 16.

On the same day, in Brussels, a joint conference on the food crisis will take place between the EU Agricultural Information Centre and the European Parliament Development Commission and FAO.

Also on World Food Day, Ireland's Freedom from Hunger Council will organize a seminar in Dublin. Similar events are planned throughout Italy. In Spain, the annual WFD Telefood gala will take place on Nov. 8 over a period of seven hours.

(Xinhua News Agency October 11, 2008)

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