19 December 2003, Rome -- Prime Minister Helen Clark has received the Ceres Medal, struck in her honour by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) in recognition of her commitment to promoting international partnership and food security towards a safe and just world, the UN agency announced today.

Since 1971 the Ceres Medal, named after the Roman goddess of agriculture, has been awarded to distinguished women who have contributed to the fight against hunger. Recipients have included, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina of Bangladesh, Panamanian President Mireya Moscoso and former Brazilian First Lady Ruth Cardoso, as well as the late Mother Teresa.

During the ceremony, which took place in the country's capital on Thursday, FAO Director-General Dr. Jacques Diouf said the medal was a token of the Organization's esteem and respect for Ms. Clark's role in promoting poverty eradication as the key objective of the country's development assistance programme.

Poverty eradication, of which the fight against hunger is an essential component, is one of the UN Millennium Development Goals and during the 2002 Johannesburg World Summit on Sustainable Development, Prime Minister Clark urged the international community to create and meet achievable targets for poverty reduction, access to clean water, renewable energy, conserving fisheries, maintaining biodiversity and phasing out export subsidies.

The Millennium Development Goals call for reducing the proportion of people living on less than one dollar a day to half the 1990 level by 2015-from 28.3 percent of all people in low and middle income economies to 14.2 percent. The Goals also call for halving the proportion of people who suffer from hunger between 1990 and 2015.

Dr. Diouf complimented Ms. Clark on her belief that sustainable development cannot be achieved by one country alone and her recognition of the fact that it is through partnerships with others - countries, financial and technical institutions and regional and multilateral organizations - that shared goals can be achieved.
Stephanie Holmes
Information Officer, FAO
(+39) 06 570 56350