Director-General meets with Gabonese delegation
13 May 2013, Rome, Italy - FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva met today with Gabriel Tchango, Gabon’s Minister for Water and Forests, on the same day that FAO began a week-long International Conference on Forests for Food Security and Nutrition, the first of its kind. The Gabonese Deputy Minister for Agriculture, Célestine Oguewa Ba, was also present for the bilateral discussions following the opening session of the Conference.
The Director-General warmly thanked the group for their contributions to the Conference. He also congratulated the government of Gabon’s keen grasp of the need to have both the Ministries of Agriculture and that of Water and Forests participating together in the week’s meetings. He noted that this sort of hand-in-hand work of subsectors that often have invisible boundaries drawn separating their respective spheres of responsibility will be key in achieving a holistic and coordinated approach that will help communities achieve food security.
The Director-General indicated that FAO would continue to support Gabon through the Country Programming Framework, which is linked to “Gabon Emergent” and its strategic pillars, specifically in what Gabon is promoting as “Green Gabon,” which encompasses its Natural Resources Management and Sustainable Development programmes. Tchango explained that the implementation of Green Gabon will be crucial in preserving the forest resources of the Congo Basin, of which 22 million hectares fall within Gabon’s territory (80 percent of the total), and in turn, to mitigating the effects of global climate change. After the Amazon, the rainforests of the Congo Basin are the world’s second largest in land area.
The Director-General also discussed “Blue Gabon,” which is the country’s new strategic plan for better fisheries governance, protection of resources and control in its waters, and signaled FAO stands at the ready to support the country’s work in this area given the large FAO’s expertise on this domain.