Despite immense progress, millions of individuals are still denied the food that they need for a full and healthy life. TeleFood is dedicated to creating awareness of the scourge of hunger and to mobilizing resources to help accelerate action to provide lasting solutions to the problem. The spirit of this demonstration of global solidarity is captured in its slogan :

"Food for All : faster and further".


At the World Food Summit convened by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), in November 1996 in Rome, the Heads of State and Government and representatives of 186 countries pledged their political will and national commitment to achieve food security for all and to meet the Summit's immediate objective of reducing by half, not later than the year 2015, the present number of over 800 million undernourished people. They also decided to encourage an increase in world food production and trade on an environmentally sustainable basis to meet the needs of the 3 billion additional persons expected on the planet by the year 2030.


Telefood is an initiative in response to this challenge. It is intended to be a long-term endeavour and 1997 represents the first step in this process. It consists mainly of a series of television events organized simultaneously at the national level in the participating countries and internationally from Rome. The initiative has two major objectives:

  • to raise awareness

  • to mobilize resources.

It is important that people, at all levels, are made aware of the issues underlying food security and how they can contribute to its attainment. To achieve this objective, TeleFood needs the broad mobilization of governments, civil society and, in particular, professional organizations, business enterprises and commercial firms as well as celebrities, artists and eminent personalities all over the world.


FAO has already initiated the follow-up to the Summit, in particular through its Special Programme for Food Security, (SPFS) designed to increase food production in 86 food-deficit countries which lack sufficient resources to meet their food needs through imports from the world market. In order to implement the SPFS and to undertake grass-root level projects aimed at assisting the rural poor and the most vulnerable groups (including women and children) in other developing countries, additional resources need to be mobilized from civil society, business and private individuals.


FAO will organize TeleFood in cooperation with all concerned, during the period from 17 to 19 October 1997 on the occasion of the World Food Day. Celebrities and well-known performers and personalities will help to raise awareness of the struggle for food security and call on the generosity of those concerned about world hunger and willing to participate in the effort to ensure "food for all". Each participating country will organize national TeleFood events corresponding to its own needs, national features and capabilities, and, at the same time, will be able to telecast the main international programme coordinated and satellited from Rome by the Italian TV channel RAI International. The main global telecast from Rome will benefit from the participation of celebrities and artists known world wide.


While this is the first time that such an ambitious world-wide event is being organized, FAO has started receiving very encouraging responses from celebrities and television stations all over the world. In addition to RAI International in Italy, three other television channels in France, Spain and Mexico, with major international networks and facilities, have confirmed their participation in the initiative. While we continue to receive commitments of support from all over the world, television stations from 34 countries have already indicated their interest in adhering to the initiative. Even at this early stage, therefore, it is foreseen that TeleFood will be able to count on the participation of about sixty countries.


Numerous personalities of the entertainment world have pledged their support for this initiative by signing an "Appeal Against World Hunger". They are : Isabelle Adjani, Bernado Bertolucci, Bouamani Mohamed, Youssef Chahine, Placido Domingo, Adama Drabo, Patrick Dupong, Nour El Sherif, Gong Li, Lakhdar M. Hamina, Mike Leigh, Jeanne Moreau, Aahmed Rachdi, Tina Turner, Wim Wenders and Franco Zeffirelli. The Appeal, issued for the first time at the Cannes Film Festival, is now being circulated in the worlds of politics, science, entertainment, academia. sports and culture and new signatures are reaching us daily. Besides, and independently from the Appeal, several personalities have confirmed their support to TeleFood. These include in particular the musicians and singers Bassidou Campaore, Guy Beart, Cearia Evora, Cheick Lo, Doudou Ndiaye Rose, Angelique Kidjo, Youssosu N'Dour, Ivan Rebroff, Jose Carreras, the writers Jacques Attali, Ken Follet, John Le Carre, the journalist Francoise Giroud, the actors Monican Vitti and Guy Bedos, the Nobel Laureates Oscar Arias Sanchez and Rita Levi Montalcini, the fashion designers Salvatore Ferragamo and Nicola Trussardi, and many others of global, international and national standing. Many other personalities of national or international renown have already indicated their support and it is expected that other stars and celebrities will join the cause to defeat the scourge of hunger and malnutrition.

In addition, several business firms, banks and private enterprises have already committed support to this FAO initiative by agreeing to sponsor the organization of TeleFood. Many others have indicated their interest in joining the initiative, both at national and international level.

Practical actions to improve food security

Helping the developing countries most in need : as we approach the year 2000, FAO has identified over 85 countries, nearly half in Africa and nearly a quarter in Asia, where the food situation justifies urgent action. It has embarked on the Special Programme for Food Security focused on these countries which face a food deficit and, for the most part, cannot afford to buy the food that they need on the world market. In other developing countries, hunger and malnutrition also affect rural vulnerable groups, women and children in particular, who need assistance.

Helping the hungry to feed themselves: the vast majority of the world's poor and hungry people live in rural areas of the developing world. TeleFood-funded projects will provide additional support to poor farmers and vulnerable groups, especially women, enabling them to produce the food they need instead of having to reply on food aid.

Taking pragmatic action at the "grass-roots level": fighting hunger and malnutrition in the developing countries requires the widest possible participation of rural communities. FAO's Special Security, for example, helps people in low-income, food-deficit countries to help themselves by: implementing small-scale water harvesting, irrigation and drainage projects to shelter production from droughts and floods; intensifying plant production with technologies that are novel and respect the environment; and introducing a diversity of farming approaches that offer increased productivity and sustainable agricultural and rural development.

Building on success: the Special Programme has already started in 18 countries and enjoys the support of other organization and developing countries willing to share their successful experiences in agricultural development.

TeleFood is an international solidarity effort. Any donations that may be offered will be collected through accredited banks and all proceeds will be entirely allocated to grass-root level projects. The collection of these funds will be subject to independent control by national audit firms in each of the participating countries. At the international level, this control will be maintained by FAO's internal and external auditors. The integrity of these procedures will be verified by an independent group of auditors. Each year FAO will publish and disseminate through the media a report on related activities carried out in support of the poorest segments of rural populations


The need to go further and faster in the fight against hunger

Accelerating and extending the fight against hunger: to hasten the implementation of the Special Programme for Food Security and extend it to the remaining countries concerned, FAO is trying to mobilize extra resources. Just as it is duty of each country to guarantee its own food security, it is the duty and obligation of the international community to second their effort.

Looking for new solutions and commitment: to go still further and faster in the fight against hunger, it is necessary to find new means, to devise alternative solutions and to solicit other commitments. The future of humanity and our planet is at stake. FAO's mandate is to inform, lead and pioneer the global effort to achieve food for all. This is the significance of TeleFood.