L’AQUILA, ITALY — Last week, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations Director-General Jacques Diouf praised the G8’s $20 billion Food Security Initiative as an encouraging policy shift in favor of the poor and hungry. "The L’Aquila Joint Statement on Global Food Security ... signals a welcome and encouraging shift of policy in favor of helping the poor and hungry to produce their own food," he said.

The G8 meeting resulted in an agreement to mobilize $20 billion over three years for a comprehensive strategy focusing on sustainable agricultural development. "I am convinced you will ‘walk the talk’ not only for natural ethical considerations but also for sound economic reasons and, last but not least, to ensure peace and security in the world," he told the delegation.

Mr. Diouf urged the international donor community to devote 17% of Official Development Assistance to agriculture "as soon as possible", recalling this was the level of investment that saved Asia and Latin America from famine in the 1970’s. A similar level of resources is needed now to feed the more than 1 billion people suffering hunger and to ensure that the world’s population, set to grow to more than 9 billion in 2050, will have enough to eat.

A new World Food Summit of heads of state and government — the third after previous meetings in 1996 and 2002 — will be held at F.A.O. headquarters in Rome Nov. 16-18 to secure a broad consensus on the eradication of hunger, on improved governance of the international agricultural system and on policies and programs to ensure world food security.