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Director General  José Graziano da Silva

Talks with the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs

Ongoing collaboration ahead of the World Humanitarian Summit

30 March 2016, New York - FAO Director-General Jose Graziano da Silva met with Stephen O’Brien, head of the UN’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, in New York today to discuss ongoing collaboration ahead of the World Humanitarian Summit and plans to deploy an early warning system for major weather events such as El Nino.

FAO’s Director-General emphasized that FAO has a lot to contribute to the Istanbul summit in May, especially regarding climate change and resilience.

He also urged the UN’s top emergency relief coordinator to embrace the idea of promoting more debates on how to shift international development efforts from delivering aid towards ending needs.

FAO, with OCHA’s support, recently held an event focusing on the impacts of El Nino, aiming to raise international awareness of the impact of this sporadic weather phenomenon, which is currently decimating agricultural output in Southern Africa and elsewhere.

Graziano da Silva said that early warning systems can produce three-month forecasts of the potential impacts of El Nino and that FAO is working with the World Meteorological Organization to enhance projection capacities.

He also briefed O’Brien on Monday’s Arria formula event with the UN Security Council, at which FAO’s Director-General proposed ways to embed food security measures into assistance efforts in conflict situations.

It is imperative to pay attention to rural dwellers who decide to remain in conflicts areas, who need continual assistance with seeds and other agricultural inputs, including irrigation, he said. Syrian farmers are managing to produce around 60% of their usual wheat output despite the long-running civil war in that country.