Bangkok, 03 Sep 2012 -- FAO and the Nippon Foundation are teaming up to broaden opportunities for people with disabilities (PWD). Nippon Foundation is a Japan-based leading international non-governmental organization mobilizing global contributions to realize basic human needs like food security. Under an agreement signed today at the FAO's Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific, the two organizations will work together and with others to promote food security through agriculture, nutrition, livelihood improvements, and better land tenure management and also by initiating gender and nutrition initiatives that focus on rural communities with disabled people.
The Memorandum of Understanding, signed by Hiroyuki Konuma, FAO Assistant Director-General, FAO Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific, and Shuichi Ohno, Executive Director, Nippon Foundation, lays out the terms and conditions for joint actions and projects that will promote food security and assist rural people with disabilities.
Areas of potential collaboration include identifying the needs and requirements of rural agro-based business development for people with disabilities, compiling and publicizing the good practices of rural agro-businesses with PWD and agriculture development projects that target concurrent improvements in productivity, sustainability and resilience with an emphasis on rural disabled people.
Speaking at the signing ceremony, Mr Konuma said: "As we sign this agreement today, hunger threatens the lives of nearly a billion men, women and children across the world and rising food prices are threatening to make matters even worse. It is always the less fortunate among us, such as people with disabilities, who suffer disproportionately. Disabled people are so often denied any productive role in farming and agro-business.
"Today's agreement reminds us that by working cooperatively we increase our chances of identifying and implementing long-term solutions to world hunger; solutions that must include the most vulnerable, particularly people with disabilities."
Mr Ohno recalled that "the Nippon Foundation addresses such vital areas as education, health, and food security; the fundamental building blocks of society. If these societal building blocks are weak, a nation will not be able to live up to its potential and may tip into instability. This partnership will improve support for food-insecure communities in Asia that have people with disabilities. It will do this in part through sustainable field-level agricultural livelihood projects that are inclusive, effective and resilient."
Mr Konuma stressed that the agreement leveraged the strengths of the two organizations, presenting new opportunities for FAO and the Nippon Foundation.
In response, Mr Ohno added: "We believe there are tremendous opportunities for joint work when it comes to agriculture development projects that include people with disabilities. By improving on-farm and agro-business productivity, sustainability and resilience, new opportunities can be opened up for people with disabilities."
The FAO statement further clarified that ultimately the envisaged cooperation is about providing tangible improvements for rural agrarian communities to help disabled people live and work as a part of the community. The shared focus of the two organizations will ensure the partnership's ultimate success in building a more food secure and inclusive world.
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The Nippon Foundation was established in 1962 as a non-profit philanthropic organization active in Japan and around the world in education, social welfare, public health and food security. The Foundation funds and assists community-led efforts in about 100 countries working with affiliated organizations to build a more peaceful and prosperous global society.