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The first World Food Conference was held in Rome in 1974 by the United Nations under the auspices of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), in the wake of the devastating famine in Bangladesh in the preceding two years.

Perhaps the most famous statement made at the conference was by then-U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger who made the declaration that within 10 years no child would go to bed hungry. While this bold declaration was in no way fulfilled, it did galvanize public attention, stimulate debate and studies on the feasibility of such a goal.

Governments attending the World Food Conference proclaimed that "every man, woman and child has the inalienable right to be free from hunger and malnutrition in order to develop their physical and mental faculties." The Conference set as its goal the eradication of hunger, food insecurity and malnutrition within a decade.

Among other outcomes, the conference put in place a World Food Council (subsequently disbanded) and led to follow-up World Food Conferences.

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