Teheran, 13 March - Ministers of
Agriculture and delegates from 24 Near Eastern countries
endorsed the establishment of an "International
Alliance Against Hunger and Poverty" as called
for by the President of the Federal Republic of Germany,
Mr. Johannes Rau at the annual World Food Day
observance held last October at the UN Food and
Agriculture Organization (FAO) Headquarters.
The endorsement was part of the decisions
announced today at the conclusion of the 26th FAO Regional
Conference for the Near East meeting in Tehran since 9 March.
The Conference further called on FAO to formulate operational
modalities for the International Alliance Against Hunger and
Poverty for the timely consideration and adoption by member
"Such an alliance
could be the tangible expression of reinforced political will
and an important step towards removing the despair and anger
that are so favourable to extremism," said FAO
Director-General Dr. Jacques Diouf.
East Agriculture leaders commended FAO for setting up a Trust
Fund for Food Security and Food Safety. 20 percent of the Trust
Fund's initial target sum of 500 million dollars have been
The Conference called for
additional contributions to the Trust Fund before the convening
of the World Food Summit: five years later, scheduled to take
place in Rome from 10-13 June, as a manifestation of the
world's commitment to the war against hunger.
A total of 36 national and regional non-governmental
and civil society organizations from 15 countries last week held
a regional consultation in Tehran and presented their
recommendations to the FAO Ministerial Conference.
Official and non-governmental leaders of agriculture
joined voices in calling for the highest possible political
participation at the World Food Summit: five years later. They
considered the participation of Heads of State and Government at
the Summit essential to reach the requisite level of commitment
to effectively combat food insecurity in the region and the
Recognizing the need for additional
investments in agriculture, the Conference requested FAO to help
in promoting the region's interests at this month's
International Conference on Financing for Development,
Participants lauded FAO
for its initiatives in the region and for the support it
provides to its member states in all aspects of agriculture and
rural development, particularly in water management, animal
health and production, locust control, increasing forest cover
and the training of national experts for WTO and other
multilateral negotiations in agricultural trade.
To mitigate the negative repercussions of recurring
drought on agricultural production in this region, member states
requested FAO's support in establishing and operating the
recently launched regional network on drought management for the
Near East and North Africa.
called on member states to adopt policies conducive to the
strengthening of regional cooperation to increase intra-regional
agricultural trade, to combat trans-boundary pest and animal
health diseases and to implement joint research and
The FAO Near East
Conference was the second regional conference after Africa en
route to this year's World Food Summit: five years later.
The 26th FAO Regional Conference for Latin America and the
Caribbean will be held in Havana, Cuba from 22-26 April.