Queen Letizia of Spain has been named FAO Special Ambassador for Nutrition in a ceremony in organized by Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) in Rome.
The appointment was made in recognition of the Queen's personal commitment to building a world free from hunger and malnutrition, and Spain's efforts to promote global food and nutritional security.
As Special Ambassador, Queen Letizia will engage in raising awareness of global hunger challenges and building public support for hunger eradication.
"My task is that of serving the objectives of this UN agency in the most effective way possible," the Queen told representatives of FAO's Members gathered at the Organization's governing Conference.
"In this day and age, we have the technical capacity to produce healthy food in sufficient quantities for all. Therefore what we must do is mobilize the will," she said, calling for "collective action involving governments, the private sector, civil society, and, of course, individuals. We need everyone on board."
During her address Queen Letizia stressed the critical need of ensuring good nutrition for pregnant and breastfeeding mothers and for young children during the first years of life.
She added that the agro-food sector should participate in advancing toward these goals "in an active and responsible way, helping raise awareness of the need to support people in living healthy lives free of sickness."
Echoing the key message of an FAO book released yesterday, the Queen described the benefits of the traditional Mediterranean diet, calling it "the best example of healthy and sustainable eating."
"We are fully confident that her majesty will help those who most need it break the vicious cycle of chronic hunger and malnutrition," said FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva.
"Eradication of hunger and malnutrition can and should be the greatest legacy we leave to humanity. Let us make that a reality," he added.
According to FAO's latest assessment, the number of hungry people in the world has been reduced by 216 million since 1990. However, some 795 million still experience chronic undernourishment today.
"At the same time, obesity rates are going up, primarily in medium- and high-income countries," the Director-General noted. Children are especially vulnerable to nutrition problems, he noted.
Dr Somsak Pipoppinyo, Food and Agriculture Organization Representative (FAOR) in Nepal congratulated Queen Letizia on her appointment.
“Food security and farming livelihoods are a critical issue for Nepal at this stage of the relief effort,” Dr Somsak said.
“The earthquakes hit some of Nepal’s key crop and livestock production areas the hardest and FAO is working with the Nepal Government and the District Agriculture Development Offices to help farmers get back on their feet.
“The Queen’s commitment to eradicating hunger and malnutrition will help to highlight the importance of food security in Nepal, as the relief effort continues.”