Promises to keep
|FAO has seen 50 years of progress yet its pursuit of a better and more equitable world is unchanged.|
The Constitution of FAO is as relevant now as when it was adopted 50 years ago. The promises made then have still to be met in full, but considerable progress has been made in alleviating hunger and poverty. The availability of food set against the total population of the world has increased even though the population has more than doubled. World agricultural production and international trade in agricultural products have grown dramatically. There have been broad gains in the standard of living in terms of income, health and education.
Despite these gains, millions of people, mainly in developing countries, still lack the food that they need for a healthy, productive and active life. At the same time, because the benefits of past progress have not been shared equitably, the gap between rich and poor, individuals and nations alike, has grown wider. Global food security, which will ensure that everyone has an adequate diet, has yet to be put in place.
The population of the world at the time of FAO's founding stood at about 2 500 million persons. By FAO's 50th Anniversary in 1995, it had reached an estimated 5 700 million. In 2045, the Population Division of the United Nations has projected that it could be between 7 960 million and 11316 million, according to whether one assumes a low or high growth rate for the years to come. No matter which scenario may prove the more accurate, one thing is certain: in the foreseeable future our planet must sustain an increasing number of people, bringing an even greater demand for food, clothing, shelter, health care and education.
The existence of poverty and hunger is the principal challenge facing the world community. As the specialized agency responsible within the United Nations system for food, agriculture and rural development, FAO clearly has a central role in helping meet these challenges. In fact, the elimination of hunger and the establishment of food security by means of sustainable development are the driving forces underlying the mission of the Organization as it moves towards a new century.
In celebrating the 50th Anniversary of FAO, its Members have chosen to reaffirm their dedication to its principles and to renew their commitment to its mission. Setting objectives for food, agriculture and rural development, and the conservation of natural resources, this partnership, which embraces almost every nation in the world, has agreed to give due emphasis to:
|Management and sustainable use of natural resources is vital.||Using natural resources can provide jobs and incomes to combat poverty.||Food losses can be minimized by improving storage and preservation.|
|All people, particularly women, should be able to participate fully in rural development.||A favourable environment for trade needs to be created.||Sustainable use and care of natural resources should be rewarded.|
|Food security and improved nutritional status for everyone should be a priority in national policies and plans.||Consumers should be protected with safe, good quality foods.||Research capacity must be strengthened in developing countries.|