16 October 2013
Memorandum of Understanding Signing Ceremony
International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies and FAO
Mister Bekele Geleta, Secretary General of the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, IFRC
Mr Mohammed Mukhier, Head of Community Preparedness and Disaster Risk Reduction of the IFRC
Ladies and gentlemen
I am honoured to share this table with partners from the IFRC - International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies.
And I want to thank you for being here on World Food Day. This is a day which calls for reflection and action to achieve a world without hunger, a world with freedom from want.
And that is what we are doing here: joining forces to take action.
Let me also express FAO’s and my own solidarity to the IFRC and its staff members and volunteers who have been kidnapped in Syria.
This situation is a testimony to the commitment of humanitarian and development workers around the world. And a testimony to the challenging the conditions in which they work in and in which the people that we are trying to help live in.
The Memorandum of Understanding we are signing today shows that we understand the challenges. And that we want to work together to overcome them.
FAO looks forward to the implementation of the action plan that we have agreed on, which focuses on resilience, joint responses at the field level, advocacy and communications, capacity development and knowledge and information sharing; and joint mobilization and use of funds.
By joining forces we are strengthening ongoing collaboration in support of the vulnerable populations around the world.
IFRC has an impressive network of 13 million active volunteers and more than 100 million members in nearly 190 national societies.
FAO has knowledge and technical capacity in the field of rural and agricultural livelihoods that that can support and improve IFRC action in the field. And we look forward to your increased participation in the policy dialogue that takes places at the international level.
Let me recall a central idea expressed in the 2011 joint press release for the launch of the IFRC “World Disasters Report”: the need to address world hunger with greater coordination, focusing both on its root causes and on building more resilient communities.
I am pleased to say that, since then, resilience has gained ground inside FAO. We have shifted our approach from responding to emergencies to putting in place measures that can help prevent them.
This can be seen in many of our interventions, including resilience programs in the Sahel and Horn of Africa.
And, most importantly, increasing the resilience of livelihoods to threats and crises is now one of FAO’s five strategic objectives.
That is why I am also pleased to see that resilience at the core of our partnership. It is a promising one. I am confident that we will do many more good things together, building on our ongoing joint work.
Thank you very much.