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Director-General  José Graziano da Silva
A statement by FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva
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First Informal Joint Board Meeting of the Rome-based Agencies


Mr. Gilbert Houngbo, President of IFAD;

Mr. David Beasley, Executive Director of WFP;

Mr. Khalid Mehboob, Independent Chairperson of the FAO Council;

Mr. Yousef Jhail, President of the WFP Executive Board;


Ladies and gentlemen,

Welcome to this first informal joint board meeting of the RBAs.
As the Independent Chair of the Council noted in his opening remarks, this is an informal meeting.
I am confident that this meeting today will mark the beginning of a new tradition, and that it will establish a good platform for dialogue, and even more cooperation between the 3 RBAs.
Let me mention that the idea of having this kind of joint board meeting was first discussed with the former Executive Director of WFP and also the former President of IFAD.
And I am glad that the two new heads of WFP and IFAD were very receptive to the proposal, and agreed to implement it at the first opportunity.
In fact, this meeting is taking place so shortly after President Gilbert Houngbo and Executive Director David Beasley took office.
I can reaffirm that all three of us fully agree on the importance of RBA collaboration within our respective mandates.
Our efforts to strengthen RBA collaboration are in line with the demands of many countries to reduce duplication and overlapping among UN organizations.
In fact, our collaboration here in Rome is considered a leading example that is followed with great interest in New York and within the UN System.

Ladies and gentlemen,

At the leadership level, our excellent relation and keen interest to strengthen cooperation is reflected in many ways.
The 3 heads have made a joint trip to Ethiopia last week. And I know that Gilbert will tell you more on that.
Each of us has also represented the 3 RBAs at an international event in the past months, and spoken in their names.
This was the case, for example, at the G20 meeting. And it will happen during the upcoming UN General Assembly next week. 
We have also co-chaired events, like the one on Zero Hunger at the last FAO Conference. This will also be the case with the event on Food loss and waste next week in New York. 
There are also strong examples of joint programmes:
For instance, FAO-WFP-IFAD have just embarked on a USD 38 million programme funded by the Government of Canada in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Niger and Somalia.
This is a great opportunity for the three agencies to bring together their tools and approaches for resilience building in a collaborative way.
And also show-case the benefits of this collaboration in terms of complementarity, impact, cost-effectiveness and sustainability of interventions.
In terms of resource mobilization and outreach, the RBAs have often spoken with one voice. 
A good example are the joint statements of the RBAs during the High Level Political Forum (HLPF).
Furthermore, numerous joint press releases and statements have been issued focusing on key thematic areas, and urging increased attention and resources to respond to natural disasters.
When it comes to disseminating knowledge, the RBAs are also taking big steps:
FAO and WFP now elaborate a report on the monitoring of food insecurity in conflict-affected crisis that is presented to the UN Security Council and updated on a regular basis.
At a recent meeting, the UN Security Council President described the report as "an invaluable tool", which will keep the Council updated on the food security situation of countries in conflict.
So the examples of ongoing collaboration among the RBAs are many.
You will shortly receive an update of the Joint Paper on RBA collaboration, with a wide range of cases of cooperation.
To conclude, I would like to say that we have planted a seed.
Now we have to wait for this seed to grow, and produce good fruits.
We all know very well that there is a long time between planting and harvesting.
So we need patience in this process of promoting further and intense collaboration between the 3 agencies here at Rome and at country level.
We also need to work based on consensus and good will. And we will only make progress, and achieve good results, if we work together.
I thank you very much for your attention, and I look forward to our interaction to reflect together on the steps taken so far and the way forward.

Thank you