On September 3, the United Nations' Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) announced that it was prepared to move its forthcoming World Food Summit from Rome to another Italian city, but was waiting for proposals from Italy's government over where the new venue would be, the Financial Times reports.
As the Italian government continued to pressure the UN and FAO to relocate the summit, Jacques Diouf, the FAO's director-general, said he was awaiting "official and very precise proposals" from the Italian authorities over where the November 5-9 summit would be held.
Following the protests by anti-globalisation groups at the G8 summit in Genoa in July 2001, the Italian Prime Minister Mr. Berlusconi insists that the FAO summit be held away from Rome and big city centres. Mr. Berlusconi and Mr. Diouf are setting up a joint commission to decide on a venue.
Approximately 100 heads of state and 7,000 delegates are expected to attend the summit.
Some Italian government officials are concerned that moving the summit could damage the country's international standing. The FAO has been based in Rome for about 50 years. One government official noted that the north Italian city of Parma has been campaigning to be the home of a new European Food Authority. "This debacle over the FAO must have wrecked any chance of the European Union bringing the new authority to Italy," the official said.