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President Higgins to address Opening Session of the World Food Forum in Rome

Date: Mon 16th Oct, 2023 | 09:30

Uachtarán na hÉireann, President of Ireland Michael D. Higgins, will this afternoon address the Opening Session of the World Food Forum at the Headquarters of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) in Rome. Ahead of his address to the Opening Session, President Higgins will this morning deliver remarks at the 43rd annual observance of World Food Day at the same venue.
The events mark the commencement of a week-long programme of engagements which the President will undertake in Rome to coincide with the World Food Forum (WFF). The President will deliver the keynote address at the Closing Session of the WFF on Friday afternoon.
Tomorrow, Tuesday, President Higgins will meet with the President of Italy, Sergio Mattarella, at the Quirinal Palace. On Thursday, the President will have a Private Audience with Pope Francis and hold a bilateral meeting with Cardinal Parolin, the Vatican Secretary of State.
Over the course of the week, President Higgins will hold bilateral meetings with the heads of each of the three Rome-based United Nations agri-food and food security organisations – the Executive Director of the World Food Programme (WFP) Cindy McCain, the President of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) Alvaro Lario, and the Director General of FAO Dr QU Dongyu.
Building on the addresses which President Higgins was invited to deliver in Senegal in January at the second Dakar summit on food sovereignty and food resilience, the President will across his engagements in Rome emphasise that in responding to the food security challenges which we face, it is essential to move past reactive emergency responses to tackling the underlying structural causes of hunger. To deliver successful food systems, the President will suggest that we must recognise the links between food insecurity, global poverty, migration, debt and climate change.
While in Rome, the President will also participate in a number of cultural engagements, including meeting with the Irish community, laying a wreath to honour the late Monsignor Hugh O’Flaherty, and attending the exhibition ‘Ireland and the birth of Europe’ at the Pontifical Irish College.