FAO to move fast down reform track
Strengthening the International Alliance Against Hunger
15 September 2005, New York/Rome - FAO's Executive head, Dr Jacques Diouf, announced today in New York that he was determined that FAO should move fast down the track of UN reform.
Addressing an informal meeting of leaders of some of the world's top charitable organizations, the UN agency head said "we need to rebuild public confidence in the UN system. FAO, like its sister agencies in the system, has a vital role to play on the global scene, but it can only do this if our members see that it offers value for money."
"We have been looking at ourselves in the mirror over the past few months, seeing where we can shed weight and where we need to build up our strength, and have reflected this in a budget proposal that demonstrates our strong commitment to reform. We can and must move now," Dr Diouf said.
One aspect of the reforms he talked about was that FAO should refocus on capacity building, knowledge exchange and implementation to achieve the Millennium Development Goals, in particular, goal number one. FAO should also build much stronger partnerships with like-minded institutions which share the same goals.
He thus proposed that more resources be put into the International Alliance Against Hunger, which brings together FAO, other UN agencies concerned with hunger and poverty reduction, and a number of international NGOs.
"There is no technical reason why anyone should not have enough to eat - yet one in seven humans is undernourished. We need to persuade governments that it is in everyone's interest to rid the world of hunger. For individuals who face hunger every day of their lives, we are literally dealing with a life or death issue. But the presence of widespread hunger also holds back the economic growth to which all nations aspire. As long as large numbers of people are hungry, the growth needed to reduce poverty will be out of reach," he said.
David Beckmann, president of Bread for the World, a US-based citizens' movement against hunger, welcomed Diouf's commitment to reform and especially his decision to put more resources into the International Alliance Against Hunger.
"The U.N. agencies play an essential role in our interdependent world. FAO makes crucial contributions to our global food system and progress against world hunger. I'm pleased to learn about Jacques Diouf's commitment to making the FAO more effective. Strengthening the International Alliance Against Hunger is a way to unleash grassroots energies to overcome hunger," Beckmann said.
Bread for the World is leading the National Alliance Against Hunger in the United States, and is lobbying on behalf of its members for the government to increase its support for programmes aimed at reducing hunger and poverty, both at home and abroad.
Bread for the World is teaming up with FAO and other partners in national alliances which are emerging in many developing countries to help make human hunger and poverty a thing of the past.
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