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FAO, IFAD, WFP and UN Women launch a five-year multi-agency programme to empower rural women

Photo: ©WFP/Rein Skullerud
WFP Executive Director Ertharin Cousin discusses the empowerment of rural women with Executive Director of UN Women Michelle Bachelet (right) and FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva (centre) during a meeting at WFP headquarters in Rome

13 July 2012, Rome - FAO's Director General José Graziano da Silva, the Executive Director of UN Women, Michelle Bachelet, the Executive Director of WFP, Ertharin Cousin, and representatives of IFAD participated in a high-level meeting at the WFP headquarters to discuss a 5-year multi-agency programme to empower rural women.

In this collaborative programme, entitled “Accelerating progress towards the economic empowerment of rural women”, FAO is joining forces with IFAD, WFP and UN Women. The programme is aligned with FAO’s mandate and priorities emerging from FAO’s strategic thinking process. It builds on FAO’s ongoing work to improve the livelihoods of rural people, especially women and youth, through enhanced employment opportunities and better access to productive resources and services.

In his remarks, the DG stressed the need to recognize the diversity of roles that women play in various sectors of the rural economy and at various stages of the food value chains. Accordingly, the joint programme will put particular emphasis on promoting decent employment opportunities for women, including in the non-farm sector, as well as their participation in markets and in decision making at all levels. Of special importance will be to focus on rural institutions, especially to strengthen women’s cooperatives and other types of producer organizations. Furthermore, the joint programme will help to support national policy environments for improved food and nutrition security, including by making agricultural policies more responsive to the needs and aspirations of small producers and more supportive of their economic empowerment.

The joint programme is an opportunity for FAO, IFAD, WFP and UN Women to make a real and lasting difference in the lives of family farmers in the world. It also is an opportunity for the participating agencies to partner in order to “deliver as one”, said UN Women Executive Director Michelle Bachelet.

The DG noted that “ultimately, we are starting this joint programme to enhance the effectiveness of our work and its impact at country level”.