Bangkok, Thailand, 17 Jun 2013 -- The FAO governing Conference has voted to accept two Asian countries, Brunei Darussalam and Singapore as new FAO member countries, the FAO Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific announced today. The Organization also admitted South Sudan, raising FAO members to 197 comprising 194 member countries, one member organization (European Union) and two Associate Members (Faroe Islands and Tokelau).
The European Union (EU) together with Indian NGO, Self Employed Women's Association (SEWA), shared FAO’s Jacques Diouf award. SEWA was honoured for its innovative and dedicated efforts to lift extremely poor women out of poverty and hunger. The EU shared the award for its €1 billion EU Food Facility initiative in response to the food price crisis in 2008-2011. The British newspaper The Guardian received the A.H. Boerma Award, presented biennially to a journalist or journalists who have helped to focus public attention on the world food problem.
Two FAO field officers based in Asia were honoured with the B.R. Sen Award for most outstanding contribution to the advancement of their country or countries of assignment. The award for 2011 is shared by project manager David Doolan who, through his technical expertise, leadership and ability to keep operations going despite a difficult environment, lifted whole communities out of poverty in Pakistan, and senior forestry officer Patrick Durst for contributions to forestry over his 19-year career in the Asia-Pacific region.
Twenty countries have satisfied Millennium Development Goal (MDG) number one, to halve the proportion of hungry people. Their progress was measured between 1990-92 and 2010-2012, against benchmarks established by the international community at the UN General Assembly in 2000.
An additional 18 countries were congratulated for reaching both MDG 1 and the more stringent World Food Summit (WFS) goal, having reduced by half the absolute number of undernourished people between 1990-92 and 2010-2012.
The WFS goal was set in 1996, when 180 nations met at FAO headquarters to discuss ways to end hunger.
The countries achieving MDG 1 alone include five from the Asia-Pacific region: The full list is: Algeria, Angola, Bangladesh, Benin, Brazil, Cambodia, Cameroon, Chile, Dominican Republic, Fiji, Honduras, Indonesia, Jordan, Malawi, Maldives, Niger, Nigeria, Panama, Togo and Uruguay.
Three Asia-Pacific countries were among those achieving both MDG 1 and the WFS: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Cuba, Djibouti, Georgia, Ghana, Guyana, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Nicaragua, Peru, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Samoa, Sao Tome and Principe, Thailand, Turkmenistan, Venezuela (Bolivarian Republic of) and Viet Nam. The countries were honored in a high-level ceremony at FAO headquarters on 16 June, during the week-long meeting of the FAO Conference, the organization’s highest governing body.