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Director General  José Graziano da Silva

Women, key to feeding the Mediterranean growing population

FAO Director-General: “When rural women are empowered, agricultural productivity increases and national economies grow”

FAO Director-General delivering a video message to Women 4 Mediterranean event in Lisbon

11 October 2019, Rome/Lisbon - Rural women’s contributions and leadership will be key to feed the Mediterranean region’s growing population and achieve sustainable food production, FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva today told participants gathered at an event organized by the Union for the Mediterranean and Portugal in Lisbon.

“By enabling rural women to reach their full potential, we can make food systems more inclusive, efficient and effective”, he said in a video message at the Women4Mediterranean conference, aimed at providing solutions to the various challenges the region’s women face in achieving full participation in public, economic and civil life.

“From our work, we know that when rural women are empowered to enjoy equal access as men to resources, services and opportunities, then agricultural productivity increases and national economies grow”, he added.

The conference gathered more than 300 high level stakeholders from all sectors involved in gender equality and women’s empowerment in the euro Mediterranean region, including country representatives, ministers, local authorities and institutions, parliamentarians, international organizations, civil society platforms, academics, private sector actors, project promoters, personalities with an outstanding commitment towards gender equality, media and youth.

FAO’s work in gender equality

Graziano da Silva explained that FAO is mainstreaming a gender perspective into all its institutional functions and technical work. In the past two years, the organization has provided technical support to over 130 countries with rural women targeted as beneficiaries.

He also highlighted some examples of the organization’s work in the region:

Since 2015, FAO and the International Centre for Advanced Mediterranean Agronomic Studies (CIHEAM) -with the support of the Italian government- have joined forces to support gender-sensitive value chain development in countries like Jordan, Lebanon, Palestine, Morocco and Tunisia.

Along with UNIDO and UN Women, FAO also works to promote women’s empowerment for sustainable industrial development in Algeria, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Palestine and Tunisia. 

Recently, FAO was commended by UN Women for its achievements under the UN System-Wide Action Plan on Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women. In 2017, FAO exceeded 93 per cent of the performance indicators established by this system.