10 Dec, 12:23
Ireland's John Lacey will referee his first ever RBS 6 Nations match in February, while Alain Rolland is also included in the Elite Panel in what is his last season.
Rugby's showcase quadrennial event, the Rugby World Cup, has played a significant role in achieving these objectives.
The 2011 Rugby World Cup activation builds on the tremendous success of the campaign at previous tournaments in Australia and France and is raising awareness through a combination of in-stadium visibility, advertising boards, programme adverts and public service videos being shown in stadia, at RWC Fanzones, online and via tournament broadcasters, with an estimated cumulative global audience of over four billion people.
And for the first time, those wishing to support the campaign with a direct donation can do so by visiting the Tackle Hunger secure donations page at https://www.wfp.org/donate/tacklehunger.
In addition, the 2011 Rugby World Cup Tackle Hunger campaign is using a variety of social media platforms to connect directly with rugby fans across the world - a recent release regarding the WFP's response to the famine in East Africa was also sent to over 1.2 million Rugby World Cup Facebook followers and 46,000 Twitter followers.
With a global platform and shared values of respect, integrity, passion, solidarity and teamwork, the IRB and WFP partnership has been a winning combination.
Promoting the Tackle Hunger programme across the IRB's family of international tournaments at all levels of the game has assisted WFP to help raise awareness of their work and the daily struggle the world's hungry face.
International Rugby Board Chairman Bernard Lapasset said: "We are proud of our association with the United Nations World Food Programme and to be supporting its important work in tackling global hunger.
"We all have a part to play in helping the UN achieve the Millennium Development Goals.
"The Tackle Hunger campaign, with the support of rugby fans around the world, can contribute in some way to alleviating the plight of those less fortunate than ourselves and have a real and positive impact on the lives of so many where hunger is present."
Josette Sheeran, Executive Director of the United Nations World Food Programme, added: "I want to thank the IRB and all the wonderful rugby players and fans in New Zealand and around the world who have responded with care and generosity to the Tackle Hunger campaign.
"People think that solving hunger is an insurmountable task, but every time someone learns about WFP, visits the IRB or WFP sites, donates to help feed a hungry school child, we are building a momentum to defeat hunger, end malnutrition and help save a generation of young people that otherwise might be doomed to a diminished tomorrow."
A key moment in the history of the campaign came in 2005 when the IRB staged a fundraising match at Twickenham between teams of international players from the northern and southern Hemispheres.
It raised US$3.35 million in vital funds that were donated to WFP's relief and reconstruction work in areas hit by the Asian tsunami of December 2004 and was the largest single donation the WFP had ever received from a sporting event.
Following the historic visit of the Webb Ellis Cup to the United Nations earlier this year, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon commented: "Rugby is a popular sport that promotes health, teamwork and friendship. In these difficult times, when people are struggling with poverty...conflict...sometimes both...rugby can offer a chance for joy and fun."
To find out more about the Tackle Hunger campaign, please visit www.irb.com/wfp or to make a donation, go to https://www.wfp.org/donate/tacklehunger.