The U.N.'s world food body said on Thursday that it had launched a fund with an initial target of $500 million aimed at combating world hunger and will lobby this weekend's Group of Eight summit in Genoa to back it.
"The initial objective of $500 million is fundamental if we are to reaccelerate the process towards the goal of the World Food Summit by the year 2015," Jacques Diouf, director-general of the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) , told Reuters.
He said the world had fallen behind a target set at a 1996 World Food Summit in Rome to halve world hunger by 2015 and would now only do so by 2030 unless further steps were taken.
Diouf estimates some 800 million people currently go to bed hungry. The fund, which will receive voluntary contributions from governments and the private sector, will be used to teach people in poor nations how to feed themselves, for investment in small-scale irrigation projects and to combat pests.