Diplomats in Rome plan to discuss the causes of high food prices and how global warming will affect food security, as the three-day United Nations world food summit in the Italian capital continues later on Wednesday.
Tuesday, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called for urgent action to ease the global food crisis that officials say could lead to war, poverty, and starvation for tens of millions.
He told summit delegates that sub-Saharan Africa is suffering from severe food shortages and recent food rioting. He also said food shortages in Afghanistan, Haiti and Liberia threaten to erase economic and political gains made with UN help.
Mr. Ban urged world leaders to boost food output by 50 percent over the next 20 years.
In a written message, Pope Benedict told delegates that hunger and malnutrition are, in his words, "unacceptable in a world where resources and knowledge" can solve the crisis.
The Rome-based UN Food and Agriculture Organization is hosting the three-day summit.
Italian activists Tuesday protested against Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's presence at the summit.
Many delegates are also angered at the presence of Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe at the Rome meeting. British envoy Douglas Alexander accused Mr. Mugabe of creating the food crisis in his homeland by "profound mismanagement."