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FAO and Turkey reinforce partnership for Central Asian food security and forests

Broader geographic coverage and scope to benefit countries in the region

FAO Director-General with Turkey's Minister of Food, Livestock and Agriculture Mehdi Eker after the signing ceremony.

4 June 2014, Ankara – FAO and the Government of Turkey today agreed to extend and reinforce their longstanding partnership on food security, forestry and other issues confronting the countries of Central Asia.

Two equally important agreements were signed, with the objective of providing technical assistance to and sharing Turkey’s experience with countries in the region, as well as improving capacities for international cooperation in the Ministry of Food, Livestock and Agriculture and in the Ministry of Forestry and Water Affairs.

“This partnership programme will fulfil the expectation of all partners and contribute to our common efforts for the sustainable food security in the benefit of Turkey, countries in the region and beyond”, said FAO Director-General Jose’ Graziano da Silva at a signing ceremony at the Ministry of Food, Livestock and Agriculture.

The FAO-Turkey Partnership Programme has entered its fifth year of operations, encompassing 29 projects with a total budget of $10 million and covering Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan along with Turkey.

Now with broader geographic coverage and scope, the second phase of the agreement will operate for an initial period of five years (2015-2019), benefitting countries assisted by FAO’s Sub-regional Office for Central Asia, in Ankara. The programme’s primary objective is to provide a substantive, financial and operational framework for active cooperation on food security and rural poverty reduction.

Notable achievements to date include the Central Asia Regional Programme for Fisheries and Aquaculture Programme (FISHDEV), which is reaching more than 500 farmers with training, and issuing 30 technical and practical publications.

“I am very glad also to see that nutrition is a part of our common agenda” said FAO Director General at the end of the signing ceremony in order to highlight the 2nd International Conference on Nutrition which will be held at the FAO Headquarters, in Rome next November.

New era in forestry

A second agreement on the sustainable management of forests and tree resources starts a new chapter in relations between FAO and Turkey’s Ministry of Forestry and Water Affairs.

The new programme covers an initial period of five years (2014-2018) focusing on the areas such as forest management and protection, forest policy and institutional development, and other cross-cutting issues. “This programme will allow us not only to look forward for projects here in Turkey but in the entire region including North of Africa,” said Graziano da Silva.

Within the scope of the programme, institutional capacity enhancement also will play a big role in implementing the projects. “FAO recognizes the leadership of Turkey on forestry issues and we are looking forward to have a more tight collaboration” said Graziano da Silva. "It will allow us to recruit more experts from the Ministry to work with FAO in this programme. We will try to count on expertise of your Ministry as much as possible”.

In the meeting at the Ministry, FAO Director General highlighted Turkey’s role as an emerging donor country. “We have several countries in the world that are changing from receiving cooperation from FAO to provide cooperation through FAO. Turkey is among the country most committed to help least developing countries.”

Upon a question coming from press related to the climate change, “everything that FAO is working now is looking forward to climate change. We are really impressed by the ongoing impact. Not only the impacts this is foreseen for the future but what we can see already now in the world”, said Graziano da Silva. “It became more and more important to look for the climate change not only you are going to dress but what are you going to produce.”

Graziano da Silva also noted that the 12th session of Conference of Parties of the United Nations Convention on Combating Desertification will be held in Turkey in 2015, hosted by the Ministry of Forestry and Water Affairs.

After the signing ceremonies in the both Ministries, Director General had opportunity to meet with the Prime Minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan in the presence of Veysel Eroglu, Minister of Forestry and Water Affairs and Mehdi Eker, Minister of Food, Agriculture and Livestock.

In the trilateral meeting, Turkey’s active support to South-South Cooperation and the next FAO Regional Conference for Europe which will be held in Turkey in 2016 were on the agenda.  

Both of the FAO-Turkey partnership programmes are intended to contribute to the shared objective of achieving food security and eradicating malnutrition throughout the sub-region and beyond.