New Web site highlights participatory approaches


Information and literature
on participatory approaches to sustainable development and food security are featured in a new Web site launched in May within the FAO site. The site, entitled, "Participation: sharing our resources", also highlights participatory methodologies and field tools, each presented with a comprehensive description, information on application possibilities and contact links to experts.

A library section contains short abstracts of the documents available, as well as direct links to the online documents, to the FAO publications and FAO sales catalogues and to the document order form of the FAO Library.

A section called "lessons learned" is dedicated to sharing experiences gained through the practical application of participatory processes in FAO-supported projects or programmes.

The Web site, available in Arabic, English, French and Spanish, was developed by the Informal Working Group on Participatory Approaches and Methods to Support Sustainable Livelihoods and Food Security (IWG-PA). The activities of this inter-agency group are facilitated by the Rural Institutions and Participation Service of FAO's Sustainable Development Department. The site grew out of a truly participatory process involving a broad range of FAO departments.

Users of the Web site are invited to participate in its further development by submitting links and relevant publications or by writing articles for the section "lessons learned".

16 May 2001

Web site "Participation: sharing our resources"



FAO raises agricultural issues at UN Conference on Least Developed Countries


Food security and the development of the agricultural sector in the world's poorest countries is a major focus of discussion at the Third United Nations Conference on the Least Developed Countries (UNLDC III) being held in Brussels from 14 to 20 May 2001. Participating at the Conference are FAO and other UN agencies as well as UN Member States and non-governmental organizations.

Least developed countries (LDCs) are countries with a gross domestic product per capita below US$800, weak human resources and a low level of economic diversification. Agriculture is the mainstay of most LDCs' economies, underpinning their food security, export earnings and rural development. Currently, 49 countries with a combined population of more than 600 million people are identified as LDCs.

Most LDCs are at an early stage of agricultural technology and the potential to increase productivity is enormous. In the UNLDC III's thematic session "Enhancing Productive Capacities: The Agricultural Sector and Food Security" FAO presents two papers: The Role of Agriculture in the Development of LDCs and their Integration into the World Economy and FAO Technical Assistance to Agriculture in the Least Developed Countries. In addition, FAO has produced a compendium of Key Agricultural Statistical Indicators for LDCs. These materials examine the role of the agricultural sector in the LDCs, describe FAO's assistance to LDCs and put forward recommendations for critical actions to spur agricultural growth by both LDC governments and their development partners.

The Conference is being held on the premises of the European Parliament and features an FAO exhibit on food insecurity in the least developed countries.

11 May 2001

In relation to the UN Conference on the Least Developed Countries FAO Director-General Dr. Jacques Diouf points out that there still is a lack of priority at the political level for fighting hunger and poverty (2min43sec). In Realaudio (335 Kb), in mp3 (1240 Kb)

Official Web site for the Third United Nations Conference on the Least Developed Countries
FAO papers for the conference:

Video on empowering the rural disabled


Disabled people have traditionally been regarded as unable to cope with life by themselves. As a result, they have frequently either been over-protected or ignored. FAO is trying to change outdated perceptions by creating greater public awareness of the true realities and needs of rural people with disabilities and by showing how they can contribute to improving rural communities when given a chance.

Now a video, "Empowering the rural disabled", is available from FAO. It presents two FAO projects, one in Thailand aimed at improving the livelihoods of the rural disabled, and one in Cambodia that helps disabled people improve their farming skills.

"Disabled farmers are farmers first," says Lawrence Jacobson, FAO Focal Point on Disability Matters. "Watching them in their everyday tasks in food production, you realize that their abilities, energy and resourcefulness are without limits." (Click here to watch video clip from the project in Thailand and the project in Cambodia).

To obtain a free copy of the video, contact Mr Jacobson (

7 May 2001

Mushroom production training for disabled people in Thailand
FAO database on the rural disabled


International art exhibition in FAO's headquarters


FAO is hosting an art exhibition -- "L'uomo per la terra" -- bringing together six famous artists from every continent. The intention is to use the powerful language of art to stimulate awareness of hunger and poverty and support for the fight against them.

The six artists -- Carlos Catasse, Chile; Gino Covili, Italy; Ali Al Jabiri, Iraq; Bertina Lopes, Mozambique; George Rodney, Jamaica; and Dalu Zhao from China -- differ in origin and experience, but they all share the belief that people shape their own destinies and share responsibility for their fellow human beings. (For more about the art and the artists, click here).

2 May 2001

"L'uomo per la terra" exhibition Web site




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