UN Secretary-General Ban-Ki moon called hunger “a terrible injustice” as he marked World Food Day with a visit to the Milan Expo World’s Fair, which is focusing on food security and nutrition.
Speaking at the event, Mr Ban called for “food security for all the people around the world (and) to build a global movement to end hunger”.
Italian officials presented him with the Milan Charter, signed by more than one million people during the six months of the fair, containing individual commitments to help secure food and water for the world’s growing population.
The document hopes to boost one of the UN’s sustainable development goals, agreed upon by world leaders last month at the UN General Assembly, to eliminate hunger by 2030.
It also aims to be an Expo 2015 legacy.
The Vatican's international charity, Caritas, criticised the charter as ``lacking teeth'', lacking concrete commitments and leaving out important topics such as land grabs, genetically modified crops, climate change and the loss of biodiversity.
“For us, it is always important that the people who are suffering are associated. In this case people living with hunger were not consulted,” said Caritas secretary-general Michel Roy.
Still, Mr Ban and other speakers emphasised the power of individuals to help combat hunger, and urged participants to “capture the spirit of Expo Milan and continue to fight against hunger”.
Mr Ban said it was in local communities where real progress was made.
“The difference is that the Milan Charter is rallying ordinary people,” said Kanayo Nwanze, president of the UN international agriculture development fund IFAD. “It gives ordinary people a chance to have a voice and to recognise the issues.”