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A statement by FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva
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15 October 2013

Memorandum of Understanding Signing Ceremony
International Co-operative Alliance (ICA) and FAO

Honorable Dame Pauline Green, President of the International Co-operative Alliance,

Mr. Charles Gould, Director-General of ICA

Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is an honor to welcome you to FAO. The International Year of Cooperatives 2012 gave us the opportunity to put the global spotlight on co-operatives. We did not lose it.

World Food Day last year also celebrated the importance of Agricultural co-operatives to feed the world. My presence at the Global Expo held in Manchester allowed us to further explore ways to work together.

We have succeeded in placing cooperatives in the food security agenda. And the momentum has taken us beyond the International Year.

Last week, the ICA, the Plunkett Foundation and FAO organized a side event during the Committee on World Food Security on the importance of rural co-operatives for sustainable food systems, food security and nutrition.

And FAO will participate at the General Assembly of the ICA in Cape Town in November. Let me thank ICA for accepting to host the African Regional Dialogue on the International Year of Family Farming.

These upcoming activities and the Memorandum of Understanding we are signing today result from a collaboration that was intensified last year.

This partnership makes ICA and FAO stronger by allowing us to work together to strengthen rural cooperatives in the developing world. This is the common agenda that joins ICA and FAO, as well as other UN partners and the Committee for the Promotion and Advancement of Cooperatives.

FAO will support member countries in providing the enabling conditions cooperatives need to grow. Together, we will help make the voices of cooperatives heard at policy spaces worldwide.

I also look forward to our collaboration with the Global Development Co-operative Fund. These agreements open new doors that will strengthen contribution of cooperatives towards the fight against hunger, malnutrition and extreme poverty. Thank you.