Ban Ki-moon, Mattarella at Expo

Martina hands Ban Milan Charter at Expo

(ANSA) - Milan, October 16 - United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and President Sergio Mattarella on Friday celebrated UN World Food Day at the six-month Expo world's fair, whose slogan is Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life.
    Ban made his first stop on a tour of Expo with a visit to Pavilion Zero, where students greeted him with applause and calls for a speech.
    He also stopped to have some photos taken in front of a UN blue spoon installation, the organisation's symbol at Expo representing its Zero Hunger Challenge campaign.
    Later, Mattarella began his World Food Day speech with an impassioned plea for the rights of asylum seekers fleeing war and destitution in Africa and the Middle East.
    "They abandoned their homes and loved ones to escape persecution, famine and hunger - women and men who have a right to the safeguarding of their dignity," Mattarella said.
    Almost 310,000 asylum seekers have reached Italy since 2014, he added. "Feeding the planet is inseparable from the word 'peace'," Mattarella said, and introduced the Milan Charter to the visiting UN chief. "We give you the Milan Charter, which is the legacy of Expo," he told Ban. "This is the fruit of collective labor...signed by over one million people". The Charter is an expression of global citizenship, as hunger can only be ended by global action, the president said. The Milan Charter was drafted to commit individuals, associations and companies that sign it to take responsibility through their actions and policies, while requesting governments and international institutions to implement rules and policies that ensure a fairer and more sustainable future for the planet.
    In what was the crowning moment of the six-month food-themed world's fair ending on October 31, Farm Minister Maurizio Martina handed Ban the Charter.
    Pope Francis was also on hand to celebrate World Food Day, in the shape of a message to the UN's Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).
    Freeing humanity from hunger is a "goal that cannot be put off...(and) must be pursued with a renewed will, in a world in which the gap is growing between levels of prosperity, income, consumption, access to health care, education, and life expectancy".
    "The condition of hungry and malnourished people highlights that a generic appeal to cooperation and the common good is not enough," he said.
    He said "perhaps the question to be asked is another one: is it still possible to conceive of a society in which resources are in the hands of the few, and the less privileged are forced to gather only crumbs?".


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