26 May 2003, Rome -- Development cooperation between rich and poor cities can, and must be, a central element in the fight against hunger.

This was the key message delivered by the Director-General of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), Jacques Diouf at the second Glocalization Conference in Rome.

"Being closer to citizens' needs and concerns, local authorities are able to blend institutional authority with people's solidarity and can be an effective vehicle for international cooperation," Diouf said.

"Local authorities that wish to join in the global quest for food security for all will find in FAO a committed partner," he added.

Diouf took part in the Conference to present an example of triangular partnership between the City of Rome, the City of Kigali, Rwanda, and FAO:The Rome-Kigali Model.

The Rome-Kigali model

The Government of Italy and FAO have recently signed an agreement for decentralized cooperation aimed at improving the lives of rural communities in a number of developing countries.

A joint FAO-City of Rome Municipality team travelled to Kigali last February to identify areas for improving food security and local conditions.

The mission revealed possibilities for participation of Rome's private sector in efforts to improve existing waste and sanitation facilities in the Rwandan capital, and the City of Rome is likely to work together with the City of Kigali to establish an improved general food market.

The Glocal Forum is helping to establish a capacity-building project among local agricultural NGOs and the Kigali Municipality.

A similar programme has been launched between the cities of Montreuil in France and Yelimané in Mali and FAO, with Viet Nam providing low-cost experts under the FAO South-South Cooperation Programme.

"This partnership builds partly on commitments from different stakeholders made at the World Food Summit: five years later, held in June 2002, to work together towards an International Alliance Against Hunger," Diouf said.

The FAO Director-General reminded the participants that the World Food Summits 1996 and 2002 had recognized that, while the responsibility for national food security lies with the national governments, the battle against hunger and poverty can only be won in partnership with civil society, NGOs and the private sector, as well as with decentralized structures.

Thinking Globally, Acting Locally

One year ago, the Glocal Forum - a non-profit organization set up by a widely-read newspaper with free distribution - organized the First Conference on Glocalization, in cooperation with the Mayor of Rome.

The objective of the conference was "to balance the global with the local by strengthening an infrastructure of inter-city relations that harnesses the global opportunities for local economic, social and cultural interests. "Mayors and senior political and business personalities from 20 cities around the world signed the Rome Declaration of Glocalization.

The Second Annual Glocalization Conference was opened on the 23 May by World Bank President Mr. James Wolfensohn. More than 40 mayors from cities all over the world were present over the weekend at the Campidoglio, the Rome City Hall.

Glocalization policy recommendations will be submitted to President Jacques Chirac of France, chairman of the forthcoming G8 Summit in Evian, France in June 2003, to introduce the role of cities in the agenda.

Nuria Felipe Soria,
FAO Information Officer,
(+39) 06 570 55899