7 April 2003, Rome -- A $5 million project to promote food security in the Caribbean has been jointly launched by the Caribbean Community, the CARIFORUM, the Government of Italy and FAO.

The project is the first technical cooperation project to be launched from the FAO Trust Fund for Food Security, created during the 2002 World Food Summit: five years later, to increase the flow of resources to fight hunger.

The project was signed by FAO Deputy Director-General David Harcharik, the Italian Under-Secretary for Foreign Affairs, Mario Bacinni and the Assistant Secretary-General of CARICOM Byron Blake, during a March meeting held at the Milan offices of the Inter American Development Bank.

Funded by the Italian government, the project is the first of its kind to focus on regional food security with support from the Trust Fund. Further projects for developing countries are in the final stages of preparation.

Changing words into actions

"This is the first in a series of initiatives aimed at putting into practice the commitments made by the Italian government during the World Food Summit last year," explained Giandomenico Magliano, Director General for Development Cooperation at the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

At the World Food Summit in 2002, Heads of State and Government signed a declaration committing themselves to renewed support for the goals set during the 1996 World Food Summit which include halving the global number of hungry people by 2015.

The $500 million Trust Fund for Food Security was created by FAO's Director-General Jacques Diouf following the summit to provide new impetuous to the global fight against hunger.

Italy is the first member state to respond to this appeal and has committed itself to providing 100 million euros of which 50 million euros have already been received.

Regional economic integration

The two fundamental aims of the cooperation agreement signed between CARIFORUM/CARICOM, FAO and the Government of Italy are:
  • the strengthening of policy, planning and services capacity of the different regional, national and community institutions and organisations working to promote food security in the region;
  • the improvement of production and marketing systems accessible to small farmers in food insecure communities through technical support, training and equipping activities.
An important facet of the Italian Foreign Ministry's support is to encourage regional economic integration working together with institutions such as CARICOM, an organization that promotes development and represents some 20 Caribbean countries, and CARIFORUM - the Caribbean Forum of African, Caribbean and Pacific States (ACP).

Of the 50 million euros already received, 30 million euros will be used to fund projects that safeguard food security at a national and regional level within the framework of FAO's Special Programme for Food Security (SPFS).

Some further 7 million euros will fund projects:
  • to prevent outbreaks of transboundary diseases in plants and animals in Central and Eastern Europe;
  • to fight against rinderpest in Afghanistan and Pakistan;
  • to combat the effects of desert locust in Mauritania, Mali, Chad and Niger.
An additional seven million euros will go to promoting public and private partnership in the agricultural and rural sectors in Senegal, Sudan, Egypt, Morocco and the Maghreb countries.


Contact:

Nuria Felipe Soria,
Information Officer, FAO
nuria.felipesoria@fao.org
(+39) 06 570 55899