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Food and nutrition security, climate change and soils top FAO-EU agenda

FAO Director-General meets EU high-level representatives in Brussels

16 April 2015, Brussels  - Food and nutrition security, climate change and soils are among the main topics outlined for the forthcoming months in the common agenda of work between FAO and the European Union (EU). This follows a series of meetings involving FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva and EU high-level representatives that were held on Tuesday and Wednesday in Brussels.

Graziano da Silva met EU Commissioner of Agriculture, Phil Hogan, EU Director-General for International Cooperation and Development (DEVCO), Fernando Frutuoso de Melo, and the President of the European Parliament, Martin Schulz.

Both parties highlighted the alignment between the EU initiatives and FAO's strategic objectives, and expressed satisfaction on the strategic partnership and high-level political dialogue taking place on common key challenges.

They reiterated that food and nutrition security will remain at the heart of their respective programming cycles.

FAO and the EU have also stressed the joint role they will be playing within some of the main conferences and events to take place in 2015.

These include the Conference on the Financing for Development, in Addis Ababa; the United Nations General Assembly, New York - when the Sustainable Development Goals are expected to be endorsed; the Conference of the States Parties of the United Nations Framework on Climate Change, the COP 21, in Paris.

Cooperation between FAO and the EU in the framework of the Expo Milano 2015  and in the 2015 European Year for Development was also underscored, during the talks.

On nutrition, discussions focused on how the EU can strengthen its collaboration with FAO in the implementation of the Action Plan of the Second International Conference on Nutrition (ICN2). A "multiple healthy approach" is a key for this initiative: healthy soils; healthy seeds; healthy food systems; healthy food and healthy life.

In this regard, Graziano da Silva has welcomed the recent decision of the Agriculture Committee of the European Parliament to encourage healthy eating and the consumption of local foodstuffs amongst children as it amended draft rules on schemes to provide fruit, vegetables and milk in European schools.

With respect to climate change, the talks focused on the development of modern strategies for early disaster warning and resilience, especially in the Caribbean and Pacific regions which are already affected by its impacts.

The 3R's approach promoted by FAO in the Philippines and now in Vanuatu (relief, recover and resilience) was mentioned as an example of success. Also in this context, the FAO Director-General has asked the EU to support the Trust Fund for Climate Change in favour of the Small Island Developing States (SIDS), which was approved by the FAO Council to be financed through voluntary contributions.

Graziano da Silva also highlighted the EU's possible support in the framework of the International Year of Soils, which is being celebrated in 2015, and also with regards to the follow-up activities to the International Year of Family Farming in 2014, especially in projects to promote women empowerment in the rural economy.

"For FAO, the partnership with the European Union is key to fulfill our mandate, and we hope to continue this strategic exchange in the years to come," said Graziano da Silva.

Photo: ©European Union 2015 - EP
FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva and European Parliament President Martin Schulz

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