FAO Director General paid tribute to the late President of Senegal
The former President of the Republic of Senegal, Léopold Sedar Senghor, died on 20 December 2001 at the age of 95. He was a poet of international repute and Senegal's first President after independence from France in 1960, a post he held for 20 year. Click here for the tribute FAO Director General Jacques Diouf paid to the President Senghor on his 90th birthday (only available in French).
28 December 2001
FAO, partner for peace in Colombia
Over the next five years (2002-2007), FAO will support the Government of Colombia in implementing a US$60 million integrated rural development programme to foster the peace process in the country. The initial three-year phase is funded by the Governments of the Netherlands and Colombia.
"The road to peace in Colombia passes through its rural development," explains Jorge Rincón, FAO technical supervisor for the programme. "Rural families and small producers in Colombia face serious constraints. They have limited use of and access to land, limited access to services such as credit and technical assistance, limited access to social services and basic infrastructure, such as houses and electricity. Moreover, the ongoing conflict is causing internal displacements and increased cultivation of coca and opium poppies."
Cultivation of coca, used to make cocaine, and opium poppies has not only caused economic and social problems but also has led to deforestation, environmental damage and pollution, explains Mr. Rincón. Looking for alternatives to these crops is an important part of the Rural Development for Peace and Food Security Programme (PRODERPAZ).
As alternatives to coca, cultivated mainly in the Amazonian rain forest, the programme offers a number of options to farmers: relocation, reviving the cultivation of previously grown crops, fish farming, increased cattle raising and training in improved management of natural resources. Regarding the opium poppy, cultivated in mountain zones and in humid forests near high plateaux, the programme will encourage intensification and diversification of crops and better management of natural resources.
The programme will start out small. "As soon as we get good results and we manage to get more resources, more villages and small producers will join the programme," says Mr Rincón. "The following stage will take account of best practices and success stories and try to translate them into policies, programmes and investments, in order to create an environment conducive to peace, production, marketing and access to food."
Lessons learned from the programme will be used as a model to formulate, during a second stage, a national plan for agrarian reform. In addition, the programme includes actions to improve the access of small rural producers to technology, credit and management training.
FAO's Special Programme for Food Security in Colombia will act as a framework for a wide range of activities from water management to vegetable production, introduction of small animals and acquaculture to diversify production, and support to financial services and marketing of products.
27 December 2001
Groundwork 2001: "Act to reduce hunger" on the air
The show features some of the world-renowned musicians who participated in the week-long event in Seattle: REM, Alanis Morissette, Dave Matthews, Rahat Fateh Ali Kahn, Joe Strummer and Pearl Jam. The artists play, speak out against hunger and call for people's help. The television broadcast also features examples of small-scale farming and food production projects supported by Groundwork 2001 and FAO's TeleFood campaign to reduce world hunger.
"Real solutions to end hunger are within our reach," says singer Madonna. "As human beings, what more can we ever hope to do for one another?" She is the Honorary Chair of the Groundwork 2001 Advisory Committee, has made a significant donation to TeleFood and has, along with many other artists, donated a song for the Groundwork CD.
You can buy the CD (only from the US), view performance and backstage video clips from the concerts (after 14 December) and make a direct contribution in support of a permanent end to hunger on the Groundwork 2001 Web site: www.groundwork2001.org. The CD is also available at all Starbucks and Hear Music locations in North America.
Groundwork 2001 is being made possible in part by support from its primary contributor, Adobe Systems. Many other partners have also supported Groundwork 2001.
7 December 2001
Stockholm media seminar papers online
The media has a valuable role to play in educating the public on the plight of the 815 million hungry people in the world. As part of a larger effort to educate journalists and the public on global food security, FAO recently hosted a European Media Seminar in Stockholm, organized jointly with the Swedish Government. The event brought together participants from academia, industry, government, non-governmental organizations and the private sector to brief dozens of journalists from Europe and from developing countries around the world on crucial food security issues.
To bring this information to a wider audience, FAO has now made the seminar presentations available on the FAO Web site, along with relevant background information and links. The seminar presentations are available only in English.
To visit the European Media Seminar on Food Security Web site, click here.
22 November 2001
A powerful tool for land planning uses new technologies in data management
FAO's Regional Office for Latin America and the Caribbean has just released a new CD-ROM based on the Land Resource Information System (LRIS) that will help decision-makers in the region plan land use. It contains an explanation of the LRIS methodology, case studies and a toolkit with all the necessary software and tools.
During the past five years, FAO, through its regional project "Agricultural Land and Water Information for Sustainable Agricultural Development", has been implementing the use of the LRIS in Latin America and the Caribbean. The methodology, based on the agroecological zoning concepts proposed by FAO, has been successfully used in countries such as Bangladesh, China, Lithuania and Zimbabwe, where needs and land uses are very different.
"The main objective is to simulate sustainable land use scenarios in the region in order to help agricultural planners develop environmentally and economically sound procedures and policies," says Enrique Castillo, coordinator of the project.
Using maps of the analysed region and combining biophysical and socio-economic variables, users of LRIS can generate various land use scenarios and choose those best suited to needs of their region or country. Optimum land use scenarios are defined as being economically, socially, technologically and environmentally viable. Once possible scenarios have been generated, inputs from planners, farmers and other stakeholders are crucial in determining which scenario should be used.
Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Paraguay and Uruguay are participating in the project. Each country, through its participating institution - usually the Ministry of Agriculture - is responsible for disseminating and promoting its results.
In Bolivia, results from the LRIS have been taken into consideration in the 2001-2002 municipal land management plan and in the municipal development plan of Arbieto.
To make sure the project continues, FAO emphasized training as an important component. "Every institution now has trained staff that know how to use and develop these systems," says Mr. Castillo.
The CD-ROM is available to all institutions participating in the project and can be obtained by contacting Mr. Enrique Castillo at the FAO Regional Office for Latin America and the Caribbean.
More information can also be obtained on the Web (in Spanish) at http://www.rlc.fao.org/proyecto/gcp/rla/126/jpn/
19 November 2001