Press Release 97/26

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Press Release 97/26


NEW YORK 26 June 1997.-- Sustainable Development and Food Security are inseparable, FAO Director-General Jacques Diouf told at the Nineteenth Special Session of the UN General Assembly on the overall review and appraisal of the implementation of Agenda 21 adopted at the Earth Summit in Rio in 1992.

“FAO is convinced that the food requirements of the world’s population can be met for decades to come, under systems of sustainable development, if appropriate measures are taken here and now to build national economic environments conducive to investment in the primary sector and if international solidarity will act to give the least privileged rural populations control over water resources and access to effective technologies, modern inputs, credit and markets” , Dr. Diouf said in his statement.

Five years after the Earth Summit of Rio de Janiero, a special session of the General Assembly, Earth Summit +5, is meeting at the United Nations headquarters in New York from 23-27 June to examine progress made on Agenda 21adopted at Rio. The World Plan of Action on Sustainable Development contains more than 2,500 recommendations notably in the fight against poverty, protection of the atmosphere and of the oceans, preservation of biological diversity, fight against deforestation and the promotion of sustainable agriculture.

Dr. Diouf underlined that the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) is the task manager for four key chapters of Agenda 21: integrated land-use management and protection, preservation of the biodiversity and fight against deforestation, management of mountain areas, and sustainable agricultural and rural development. He said that FAO plays an equally key role, in collaboration with its partners, in other areas that are crucial to food security and the environment, notably action against desertification and the preservation of biological diversity for food and agriculture, climate changes and sustainable energy.

It was with these major challenges of the 21th Century in mind, Dr. Diouf said, that FAO restructured itself and formed a Sustainable Development Department thus ensuring that the future perspective would be integral to the policies and projects of the sectoral departments of agriculture, forestry, fisheries and economic and social affairs. The FAO Director-General further said that the Rome Declaration and Plan of Action adopted by the World Food Summit last November are natural extensions of the Rio Summit. He said that the Heads of State and Government and high-level representatives of 186 countries had pledged to eliminate hunger and malnutrition, mainly by providing a stable political environment based on the respect of all human rights, by ensuring equality of opportunity for all, particularly women, and by adopting social and economic policies that will encourage public and private initiative, while at the same time safeguarding the environment.

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