Hanoi, Viet Nam, 21 March 2012 – Vowing to take a new approach to ending hunger, FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva has called for sustainable increases in farm production and fairer and more inclusive food and agricultural systems.
Intensifying agriculture in harmony with the environment is the centrepiece of the new approach urged by FAO, he told the Organization’s Regional Conference for Asia and the Pacific in Hanoi, which took place from 12-16 March with over 300 delegates from 39 countries attending.
“Our first global challenge is to eradicate hunger and improve food security. That means that we need to have better access to food and also increase the production of agriculture, forestry and fisheries while ensuring sustainable ecosystem management, adaptation and mitigation of climate change, and building on the many promising examples that already exist,” he said.
During the Conference, FAO members requested the Organization to coordinate the development of a regional rice strategy and support them in addressing the key challenges of increasing agricultural productivity, promote value chain development and reduce post-harvest losses, manage natural resources and respond to food price volatility.
“I am confident that we can gain ground rapidly in the fight against hunger,” added Graziano da Silva, who also called upon countries to put in place national policies to address food security and improved nutrition.
Intra-regional South-South Cooperation could play an important role in responding to the challenges faced by the Asia and the Pacific countries, said Graziano da Silva. He said that there were valuable experiences to be shared in areas such as production of rice and other crops, blue economy and the sustainable use of marine resources and addressing climate change.
Speaking at the opening of the Ministerial Session of the Regional Conference, the Prime Minister of Viet Nam, Nguyen Tan Dzung, offered his country’s support to South-South Cooperation. Noting his country’s success in increasing food production and reducing poverty, the Prime Minister said Vietnam was “willing to share our experience and cooperate with other countries in the cause of agriculture and rural development.”
So far, seven countries from the Asia and Pacific region have provided South-South Cooperation support through FAO, mobilizing over 1 350 experts and technicians from in 47 host countries, including in the islands of the Caribbean and the Pacific. Bangladesh, China, India, Myanmar, Pakistan, Philippines and Viet Nam have been among the providers of South-South support.
Part of the Organization’s governance structure, the Regional Conferences discuss policy and priority actions at the regional, subregional and country levels and contribute to priority-setting at the global level. The 31st FAO Regional Conference for Asia and the Pacific was the first in a series of regional conferences that will take place this year.
The 32nd Regional Conference for Latin America and the Caribbean will take place in Buenos Aires, Argentina from 26-30 March.