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Director General  José Graziano da Silva

Graziano da Silva holds a meeting with Mary Robinson

Former President of Ireland welcomes FAO’s new partnerships strategy

Graziano da Silva welcomes Mary Robinson at FAO headquarters.

7 March 2014, Rome- Mary Robinson, former President of Ireland and current head of the Mary Robinson Foundation - Climate Justice, welcomed “FAO’s approach in promoting new and stronger partnerships to combat global challenges of hunger, food insecurity and climate change” at a meeting with FAO Director-General today.

Robinson was the keynote speaker at the International Women’s Day event held at FAO headquarters in Rome. She underlined that problems brought on by gender inequalities and lack of access to resources in agriculture were compounded by the unpredictable consequences of climate change.

Graziano da Silva informed Robinson that FAO is entering a phase of new and renewed  partnerships within and beyond the United Nations that includes the other sister Rome-based UN agencies -WFP and IFAD- private sector, civil society, research institutions and foundations.

“I welcome this new strategic orientation of FAO towards greater multi-stakeholder involvement in addressing  global challenges, and the greater attention  given to climate change and its impact , especially on  the most vulnerable groups, including  small farmers , women and children,” Robinson said.

“We should not only analyze its impact but also the injustice of climate change, especially in the poorer countries” she added.

The FAO chief underlined  the nexus between food security and women is crucial. He informed Robinson about the successful results of the cash vouchers experience in Brazil in the framework of the Zero Hunger programme: “90% of the vouchers were given to women with amazing results,” he said referring to food management at household level and child feeding. 

"Today, nobody debates whether women should be the primary beneficiaries. But when we started in 2003 we had to go to court to uphold the decision to give women the card of the cash transfer program," Graziano da Silva explained.

“Reducing gender inequality is fundamental to eliminating hunger and developing more sustainable food systems," FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva said at the event.

Since March 2013, Mary Robinson was also appointed  UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for the Great Lakes region.