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Press Release 99/67 C/2

BOUTROS BOUTROS-GHALI SPEAKS OF GLOBAL DEMOCRACY AS GOVERNING FAO CONFERENCE CONVENES IN ROME


Rome 12 November -- Dr. Boutros Boutros-Ghali, former UN Secretary-General, pointed to the link between underdevelopment and political discontent in addressing the opening session of the governing Conference of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) today.

Stating that "Hunger is as unacceptable as war," Boutros-Ghali further emphasized that "democracy among nations means that all States, big and small, should participate in decisions concerning world affairs. That is the only way that nations will hold each other in mutual respect and that conditions will exist for sustainable peace".

Boutros-Ghali now serves as Secretary-General of the International Organization of French-Speaking Countries and Regions.

Addressing representatives of FAO's 179 Member Nations, Boutros-Ghali cited the World Food Summit, held by FAO in 1996, as well as other international conferences dealing with transnational economic and social issues, as examples of the UN's desire "to set itself up as a genuine democratic world assembly."

In other opening day activities, FAO admitted five new member nations and presented four awards for outstanding work in the field of economic and social development.

The admission of Niue, the Republic of San Marino, the Republic of Palau and the Republic of the Marshall Islands brings FAO membership to 179 countries plus one Organization, the European Community.

Journalist Patrick Luganda of Uganda, and the French magazine "Afrique Agriculture" and its editor-in-chief Alain Zolty were joint winners of the 1998-1999 H.A. Boerma Award. The Boerma award honors journalists who focus public attention on world food problems related to agriculture and rural development. The two winners each received a $5,000 cash prize and a scroll of honour.

Two institutions were chosen to share the 1998-1999 Edouard Saouma Award which is presented to national or regional institutions for their efficiency in implementing projects funded by FAO's Technical Cooperation Programme. The Forestry Department of the Republic of Cuba was honored for its work in a project to draft a new forest law for Cuba.

The General Department of Plant Protection, Republic of Yemen, was honoured for its contribution to a project to control an outbreak of Brown Peach Aphid and protect Yemen's stone and pome fruit sector. Mr. Saouma, a previous Director-General of FAO, was invited to present to the winners the award bearing his name as well as the cash prize of $25,000 which they are to share.

Two FAO field staff members were chosen for the 1998 and 1999 B.R. Sen Award. This award is given annually to a field officer who makes an outstanding contribution to the country where she or he is assigned. Eduardo Seminario Martin of Peru received the 1998 award in recognition of his achievement in developing and utilizing participatory approaches to integrated watershed management and environmental policy and planning in Burundi. Abdelouahhab Zaid of Morocco is a date production specialist. He received the 1999 award in recognition of his work with the Date Production Support Programme in Namibia. The prize consists of a cash award of $5000, a scroll and a medal.

The Margarita Lizárraga Medal, given to a person or organization that has served with distinction in the application of the Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries, was awarded to the non-governmental organization National Fisheries Solidarity (NAFSO) of Sri Lanka because of its initiative in promoting and disseminating the Code.

The FAO Conference, which will decide on the Organization's work and budget for the coming two years and which also will elect a Director-General for the coming six years, concludes November 23.

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For further information contact: John Riddle, Information Officer at telephone number:
(39) 06 57 05 32 59, or e-mail - john.riddle@fao.org


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