28 March 2014
28th FAO Regional Conference for Africa
“Toward African Renaissance: Renewed Partnership for Unified Approach to End Hunger in Africa by 2025 within the CAADP Framework”
Your Excellencies Ministers, Ladies and gentlemen
It is my pleasure to address this Ministerial Roundtable on the 2025 zero hunger target for Africa.
I would like to start by noting that other countries and regions are also setting firm targets to end hunger. Your efforts are part of this larger, global, anti-hunger movement.
The leaders of Latin America and the Caribbean adopted the 2025 target a few years ago and have recently reaffirmed this commitment in a summit held in January.
And the Asia and the Pacific region has already launched its Zero Hunger Challenge. During the FAO Regional Conference several countries have endorsed the challenge, including Timor-Leste, which faces a very difficult situation in that region.
Ending hunger by 2025 is very ambitious. But we can do it if we work together and transform our political will into concrete action.
Ladies and gentlemen
The 2025 zero hunger target was initially proposed in June last year at the High Level Meeting of African and International leaders, co-organized by the African Union, FAO and the Lula Institute.
Many of you were there: 12 heads of state and government and over 25 ministers participated, as well as around 300 non-state actors.
And Africa approved the 2025 Zero Hunger Target. But the meeting ended with more than just a political statement. It was accompanied by a clear roadmap on how to get there.
This roadmap combines the experience and expertise that different actors have, including governments, non-state actors, private sector, regional and international organizations.
It invites us to look at the different solutions countries have found, but stresses the need to respect and adapt ideas to the local reality.
The roadmap urges us to look at what is already working and how we can scale up successful initiatives. And to identify and fill the gaps in policy design or program implementation that might exist.
It presses the need of a holistic view to promote food security. We need a government-wide approach. Ending hunger needs to involve the agricultural, the health, the education, the social sector at large, and the economic sectors.
We need to work to sustainably increase agricultural production but also to improve access to food and strengthen social protection.
And we need to explore the benefits of linking production to social protection to stimulate sustainable local development.
As NEPAD CEO Dr Ibrahim Mayaki told us yesterday, this is the best way to break from the poverty cycles that exist.
Increased local food production can increase the availability of healthy food in local communities.
We can use surplus production for state purchases, for instance to supply school meals. This generates income for family farmers and better nutrition for children.
This is the kind of win-win linkages we are looking for. And guaranteeing the right to food to everyone is a starting point.
Ladies and gentlemen,
Above all, the 2025 zero hunger declaration and road map stress that this needs to be an Africa-led process.
Let me emphasize this. FAO does not have any magical solutions. And we don’t believe in quick fixes imposed from the outside.
You need to be at the helm of this process. FAO is here to support you, working within the CAADP Framework.
We need to add value to existing processes in your countries, with your regional institutions.
This is about using the CAADP Results Framework to drive us to increase employment, generate broad-based wealth, to assure that children are nourished.
As I said, last January, the 2025 zero hunger target was approved by the African Union’s Executive Council and endorsed by the Heads of State at the African Union Summit.
It is now set to be formally adopted by African leaders at the AU summit later this year, in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea.
In May, FAO is supporting the African Union in organizing its Ministerial Meeting of African Ministers of Agriculture to prepare for the adoption of this target.
Today’s roundtable will contribute to this process. Our challenge is to transform the vision of a food-secure Africa into reality by tackling the multiple causes of hunger.
We need your full commitment as Ministers of Agriculture, as senior officers in your government to make this happen.
Now is the time to translate the 2025 Declaration and roadmap into concrete action.
We want to hear your view on what specific actions can best support your efforts at country level.
There are already lots of best practices and lessons to build on. In Africa and abroad.
In closing, I would like to call upon you, this roundtable and this Regional Conference to give a strong statement of support to the 2025 Declaration and Road Map and its adoption at the upcoming AU Summit.
FAO stands committed to strengthening our partnership with you, to provide technical assistance, to develop capacities, to facilitate processes.
Thank you for your attention.