Source: U.N.’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) news release

“The entire world is called to join in a global movement to end hunger and malnutrition once and for all,” FAO Director-General Jose Graziano da Silva said during his opening address today at the International Agricultural Forum at EXPO Milan, attended by more than 50 agriculture ministers and delegates from more than 100 countries and international organizations.

He said the Expo 2015 Universal Exhibition – which is hosting the forum – comes at a crucial moment in history as it coincides with the end of a 15-year global effort to reduce hunger as well as a new one that will promise to eradicate it altogether.

A priority of the Sustainable Development Goals currently being negotiated by the international community is a time-bound framework to “end hunger, achieve food security and improve nutrition, and promote sustainable agriculture,” Graziano da Silva said.

Progress achieved through the previous Millennium Development Goals, which targeted the halving of the share of populations suffering hunger, demonstrates that the next and bolder goal is possible.

“I want to renew this pledge to all of you, as representatives of your countries, to embark on this journey,” he added, noting that the United Nations system is offering full support to more than 100 countries in Africa, Latin America and Asia that have already committed to end hunger.

Hunger’s root cause is not the scarcity of food but poverty, itself linked to a spectrum of inequalities and revolving around questions of access – access to water, land and other productive resources, access to resources, income and markets as well as access to adequate social protection, Graziano da Silva said.

Ministers gathered here to discuss how to improve food security, nutrition and food systems in general will on Friday sign the “Carta di Milano,” an initiative of the Italian government that seeks to nudge countries, organizations, companies and citizens to pledge to finding solutions to food and nutrition challenges.

The Carta will be central to the Expo’s legacy, Graziano da Silva said, noting that citizens “must do their part” by reducing food waste and consuming environmentally friendly products, and that responsible investors must also act in a way that enhances food security and nutrition.

Producers, he added, can choose from an array of options, including agroecology and climate-smart agriculture, to ensure sustainable production.