Secretary-General of the United Nations Ban Ki-moon observed a 24-hour fast in solidarity with a billion hungry people worldwide, his spokesperson Marie Okabe has said.

Mr. Ban, who observed the fast this weekend, days ahead of the World Food Summit in Rome, will deliver a speech at the opening of the three-day summit on Monday in which he is expected to say that ''it is unacceptable that more than one billion go hungry when the world has more than enough food,'' Ms. Okabe told reporters here.

''He will also highlight the human cost of the recent food, energy and economic crises and say that these crises are a wake-up call for tomorrow. In particular, he will emphasise the link between food security and climate change,'' she said.

Online campaign

The Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) has launched an online campaign calling on the general public to sign a call for eradicating hunger and asked people to go on a ''hunger strike against hunger.'' Director-General of FAO Jacques Diouf, who ended his 24-hour fast on Saturday, said: ''The silent hunger crisis affecting one-sixth of all of humanity poses a serious risk for world peace and security. We urgently need to forge a broad consensus on the total and rapid eradication of hunger in the world.''

The FAO finds that directly or indirectly, agriculture provides the livelihood for 70 per cent of the world's poor. The current crises stems from 20 years of under-investment in agriculture and neglect of the sector. The summit is convened to build political momentum for more investment in agriculture.

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