Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia , 13 Mar 2014 -- From a quick response to natural disasters like Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines to its four regional pro-active food security initiatives, a renewed FAO is well positioned to help member states across Asia and the Pacific defeat hunger and food insecurity, the FAO’s Director-General said today.
With Asia and the Pacific largely on track to meet the Millennium Development Goal of halving the proportion of those suffering from chronic hunger by 2015, it is now time to deal a decisive blow to end hunger, under-nutrition and food insecurity across this vast region.
Speaking to delegates at the Thirty-Second FAO Regional Conference for Asia and the Pacific, the Director-General noted that the FAO had spent the last two years strengthening its technical abilities at regional, sub-regional and country level. “We are working much more closely with governments, with international and regional institutions, with civil society and with the private sector to advance our goal of a food secure and sustainable world,” said FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva.
“But our work will only matter if we transform this vision into reality,” Graziano said. “The renewed FAO is swinging into action.”
FAO in Asia and the Pacific has developed four regional initiatives to respond to priorities set by member States at the last regional conference in 2012 at Hanoi. The first, the Zero Hunger Challenge for Asia and the Pacific, has already been taken up at national level by the Government of Timor-Leste and other countries in the region have indicated an interest to follow suit. A Regional Rice Initiative is now in its second phase and is being followed up at country level. The Regional Blue Growth initiative is designed to guarantee that we use the region’s oceans and marine resources in a more sustainable way. The fourth regional initiative aims to develop local value chains for food security and nutrition in Pacific Island Countries.
This year, 2014, has been designated by the United Nations as “International Year of Family Farming and the Director-General has called on member States across Asia-Pacific to “work together, particularly at the national level, to reposition family farming at the centre of agricultural, environmental and social policies on the national agendas.”
Family farmers and smallholders “do so much with so little, imagine if (they) received greater support from governments,” the Director-General said.
The Thirty-Second FAO Regional Conference for Asia and the Pacific has attracted more than 200 participants mainly from governments of 41 countries in the region. Twelve ministers and nine vice- ministers participated, as well as civil society organizations and observers.