Catholic aid agency CAFOD has expressed fears that the low turnout of leaders from the developed world at the UN World Food Summit in Rome, reflects a lack of political will amongst rich nations to tackle hunger. The heads of state of only two Western countries, Italy and Spain, showed up for the start of the four-day event aimed at eradicating world hunger. However, leaders of developing countries have flocked to Rome, highlighting the importance they place on battling hunger. Meanwhile, in the UK, the extraordinary growth of the Trade Justice Movement shows that the public does not share politicians' indifference. The Trade Justice Movement is an alliance of development and environmental agencies campaigning to make trade work for the world's poor. CAFOD's Policy Analyst Duncan Green said: "On 19 June over 10,000 people are coming to Westminster as part of the Trade Justice Movement to personally ask their MPs to do more to combat hunger. The UK Government has signed up to halving the number of hungry people in the world, and our supporters are unhappy with its efforts so far. This will be one of the biggest mass lobbies of Parliament ever and the Government must listen to our genuine concerns over the lack of progress on this issue." The previous World Food Summit in 1996 pledged to cut the number of hungry from more than 800 million to 400 million people by 2015. The UN estimates only 25 million people have come off the hungry list since then. Green said: "At this rate, the target to halve world hunger will never be reached. It is a scandal that 24,000 people die of hunger each day. Rich nations must commit to providing more aid, to going further on debt relief, and to reforming the international trade rules that lock developing countries into poverty while making rich countries richer. "Making trade fair is key to solving hunger. The international trading system is leaving poor countries out in the cold. Developed countries need to open their markets to goods from developing countries, they need to stop dumping their subsidised crops on Third World markets, and they need to do much more to help strengthen third world economies." For details on how to take part in the Trade Justice Mass lobby of Parliament, visit CAFOD's website on www.cafod.org.uk or call 020 7733 7900.
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