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A statement by FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva
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3 February 2014

Signing Ceremony for
FAO-Agreenium and FAO-CIRAD Memorandum of Understandings


Ambassador Bérengère Quincy, FAO Permanent Representative of France,

Ms Marion Guillou, President of Agreenium

Mr. Michel Eddi, President of the French Agricultural Research Center for International Development - CIRAD

Mr. François Houiller, President of the French National Institute for Agricultural Research - INRA

Distinguished guests from the French delegation,

Colleagues from FAO,

Thank you for being here.

I am just back to FAO from missions that took me to the Near East and to Ethiopia, where I attended the African Union Summit.

As you probably know, African leaders have just adopted the bold goal to end hunger in Africa by 2025.

Everywhere we look we are seeing the political decision to end hunger.

At the FAO Conference last year, FAO Member States changed our first global goal from reducing to eradicating hunger.

That is the first step to food security and sustainability. But a lot of work needs to follow. Your presence here is part of the work.

Agricultural research and international cooperation will help us identify, adapt and share experiences, knowledge and techniques that get us closer to our goals.

Agreenium and Cirad are already important FAO partners. Today’s meeting will strengthen our cooperation.

It will also sharpen its focus around the five strategic objectives that FAO Member States have approved for our organization and that guide our work.

And let me take this opportunity to thank Ambassador Quincy for her support and commitment to FAO’s transformational change.

I know that following this meeting you will have in-depth discussions with my FAO colleagues on the specific areas in which we will work together.

And I hope that by the end of your mission to FAO you will have not only worked out the details of the cooperation but have also set a date to begin the actual work.

As I said in the beginning there is growing political commitment to food insecurity and sustainability.

But there is also a growing urgency. An urgency to act upon this commitment so we don’t lose the opportunity before us.

And the urgency that comes from the fact that millions of people are food insecure today and our timely action can make a difference in their lives.

I hope you have a productive stay.

Thank you for your attention.