UN Warns Officials: No Extravagant Feasts at Environmental Summit

After being burned by reports of the large banquets served to those who attended the World Food Summit, the United Nations has issued a memo to staff members urging them not to repeat such ostentatious displays at the upcoming environmental summit in South Africa.

About 65,000 people, including 100 heads of state, are scheduled to attend the summit. In a memo sent to UN staff, an assistant to UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan warned that,

We must keep in mind that this conference is taking place in the midst of a major food crisis in southern Africa, affecting 13 million people. . . . It would be wise to refrain from excessive levels of hospitality, and any event sponsored by the United Nations should be of modest, even frugal dimensions.

The World Food Summit, held in Italy, was widely criticized for the sumptuous dinners and banquets enjoyed by those who attended the event, as well as the shopping sprees reportedly taken by delegates from developing countries.


UN ban on feasts during famine. The BBC, August 6, 2002.

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