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Prime Minister of Viet Nam and FAO Director-General open Regional Conference for Asia and the Pacific

FAO Director-General presents global challenges and regional priorities; we can gain ground rapidly against hunger, he adds.

15 March 2012, Hanoi - The Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung said today that Viet Nam was ready to share its experience and “cooperate with other countries in the cause of agriculture and rural development.”

The Prime Minister offered Viet Nam’s South-South Cooperation during the ministerial session of FAO’s 31st FAO Regional Conference for the Asia and Pacific. The event, attended by high level delegations from Asian and Pacific countries, including over 20 ministers, representatives of civil society, UN agencies and other development partners, takes place this week in Hanoi, Viet Nam. 

In a statement to the Regional Conference, Director-General José Graziano da Silva presented global and regional challenges related to food security and sustainable agriculture and said that FAO needed to better adapt itself to a changing global environment to deliver on its founders’ vision of a world free from want. 

“I am confident that we can gain ground rapidly in the fight against hunger”, said Graziano da Silva, adding that FAO put in place this year an integrated approach to combat hunger, linking emergency with development, scaling up initiatives that are giving results, working closely with partners and acting under local leadership. 

“Our initial focus is the Horn of Africa and the Sahel, but this approach can be replicated in other countries in protracted crisis and with high levels of food insecurity that seek our engagement’” he added.

Seven global challenges from the Organization’s strategic thinking process were presented for discussion in a meeting attended by high level delegations of Asian and Pacific countries, representatives of civil society, UN agencies and other development partners. 

The challenges relate to the need to ensure food security by promoting sustainable production and consumption, ensuring that vulnerable populations are guaranteed access to food and that they can improve their rural livelihoods and resilience, in a context marked by higher food prices and climate change. This requires work at different levels and strengthening the food security governance mechanisms.

Graziano da Silva also addressed the regional priorities and trends affecting Asia and the Pacific, noting that high food prices and volatility remain a threat and that land degradation and water scarcity were an increasing concern in many countries. 

The Director-General reaffirmed the importance of decentralization in this process. “We have also concluded that a ‘one size fits all approach’,” said Graziano da Silva. “The Regional Conference plays an important role in ensuring that we have the correct mix of expertise in place to respond effectively to the challenges”.