10 October 2008, Rome – The UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and Wageningen University and Research Centre (WUR) today signed an agreement to enhance their cooperation to promote and support education, research and technical and institutional capacities in developing countries.
The two parties agree to establish a strong and effective base for collaboration and ensure maximum harmony and synergy towards their common goal of strengthening capacities of developing countries to effectively attain the Millennium Development Goals. Priority will be given to cooperation in support of the international response to evolving food scarcity and subsequent soaring food prices, which are resulting in rapidly increasing numbers of food insecure poor people and political instability, especially in the poorest countries.
“The recent crisis in food prices has drawn renewed attention for the importance of stimulating and enhancing world wide food production. Wageningen UR is proud to be a partner of FAO and to be able to contribute to its policy programmes in this respect,” said Dr Aalt Dijkhuizen, Chairman of the Executive Board of Wageningen UR.
Specific areas of cooperation will include identification and promotion of appropriate technologies to boost agricultural production through sustainable use of natural resources and in the context of climate change, institutional strengthening and capacity building for education, research and technology, development of effective tools aimed at assisting member countries in the formulation and implementation of international policies and legislation and joint organization of seminars, workshops and expert consultations.
“This new agreement with important Dutch knowledge and research institutions may also lead to a more intensive policy dialogue between the Netherlands and FAO on critical issues related to food and agriculture and eventually to increased cooperation in concrete actions in the field”, said Dr José M. Sumpsi, FAO Assistant Director-General, Technical Cooperation Department.
Under the terms of the FAO-Wageningen agreement, the two parties will stimulate the exchange of scientific staff and experts, and assign young professionals/students to ongoing activities, as part of practical internships or on-the-job training.
In this regard, it may be recalled that FAO’s Associate Professional Officers (APO) programme started in 1954 with five young agricultural engineers from Wageningen University and that, since then, hundreds of young experts have followed, resulting in very close linkages between experts on both sides.
The agreement was signed by the FAO Director-General Dr Jacques Diouf and the Chairman of the Board of WUR, Dr Aalt Dijkhuizen.
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