FAO and UN Alliance of Civilizations sign Memorandum of Understanding , pledge to scale-up partnership

Food recognized as catalyst for bridging cultural differences, fighting poverty

26/11/2013 - 

FAO and the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC) have agreed to strengthen ties, using food as a bridge to improve cross-cultural relations and promote shared prosperity.

At a signing ceremony Friday at FAO’s New York office, FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva and UN High Representative for the Alliance of Civilizations, H.E. Mr. Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser, signed the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) formalizing the new partnership.

“A hungry world is not a peaceful world,” declared the FAO Director-General. “Sustainable food production bolsters not only food security, but also human security in all its forms.” Food also brings people together, added UNAOC’s High Representative. “Food is culture,” he observed. “Through food, we learn to know and appreciate diversity.”

Established in 2005 at the initiative of the Spanish and Turkish governments, the Alliance of Civilizations works to “counter the forces which fuel polarization and extremism” by fostering dialogue and engagement across cultures and religions. Mr. Al-Nasser — a former Qatari Ambassador and President of the UN General Assembly — assumed leadership of UNAOC on February 27, 2013.

The new FAO-UNAOC agreement targets four areas for enhanced cooperation between the two organizations: advocacy and communication; knowledge-sharing; policy dialogue; and joint mobilization and use of resources. “Our shared goals, commitment, and know-how are the right ingredients for a successful partnership,” remarked FAO’s Graziano da Silva.

Friday’s Memorandum signing took place as FAO organized events to launch the 2014 International Year of Family Farming and observe World Food Day 2013 at UN headquarters.