Some 130 ministers, 12 heads of state or government, including presidents from Argentina and Chile, Cristina Fernandez and Michelle Bachelet, plus numerous other high-level government representatives will be converging on Rome this week for the 39th session of FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization) governing Conference (6-13 June).
During the week-long event, countries that have achieved international hunger targets will be recognized for their efforts, and the Conference will elect the new Director-General and approve the Organization's program of work and budget for the next two years.
Sergio Mattarella, President of Italy will give the Conference opening address on 6 June, followed by a speech by Chilean President Michelle Bachelet.
Also on Saturday, Former Brazilian President Lula da Silva will deliver the McDougall memorial lecture, addressing food and nutrition security issues.
At this session the Conference, the Organization's highest governing body, will cast ballots to select the next FAO Director-General for a four-year term. The current incumbent, Brazil's José Graziano da Silva, is standing unopposed for re-election.
On Monday 8 June Graziano da Silva will deliver his biennial state of FAO address.
On Sunday 7 June a special Millennium Development Goals (MDG) Awards ceremony will be held to recognize 15 countries that have demonstrated extraordinary progress in eradicating extreme hunger.
Angola, Bolivia, China, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, Gabon, the Lao People's Democratic Republic, Mali, Myanmar, Mozambique, Nepal, Oman, the Solomon Islands, Suriname, and Uzbekistan will be recognized for having now achieved the Millennium Development Goal of halving the proportion of people in their countries experiencing chronic hunger, or the stricter World Food Summit (WFS) target of halving the total number of hungry people.
Overall, a majority - 72 out of 129 - of countries monitored by FAO have achieved the MDG hunger target, with developing regions as a whole nearly reaching it. In addition, 29 countries have met the more ambitious WFS goal.
A series of side events will run throughout the week. These include a high level panel discussion of the special food security challenges faced by Small Island Developing States (SIDS) with Prime-Ministers of SIDS countries participating.
Other events will address specific development challenges as experienced in different regions. These include water scarcity in North and North East Africa, family farming and rural territorial development in Latin America and Caribbean, and regional rice initiatives in Asia and the Pacific.