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FAO and Thomson Reuters Foundation to launch online food security information service

10/07/2014 - 
9 July 2014, Rome – The Thomson Reuters Foundation, the corporate charity of the world’s biggest news and information providers, is teaming up with the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) to improve global information and awareness on hunger and food-related issues including food production, food security, food waste, agriculture, land use, and malnutrition.
 
An agreement signed today by FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva and the Thomson Reuters Foundation Editor-in-Chief Belinda Goldsmith outlines a number of joint activities to be undertaken by the Organization and the Foundation’s global team of journalists covering humanitarian issues, women’s rights, human trafficking, the human impact of climate change and corruption. 
 
Speaking at the signing event, Graziano da Silva said: “This is a strategic alliance with an institution that has a longstanding commitment to free independent journalism, to human rights, to women's empowerment, and to the rule of law.”
 
“We cover the world’s under reported stories,” said Monique Villa, CEO of the Thomson Reuters Foundation, “this new partnership is perfectly in line with our core values, and I am extremely happy and confident we will deliver the necessary impact, boosting awareness and triggering change”. 
 
A new online platform on hunger and nutrition
 
The agreement foresees the creation of a new section on trust.org, the Thomson Reuters Foundation portal, entirely dedicated to delivering news content on hunger and food issues to be launched next fall. Stories will be produced and sourced by the Thomson Reuters Foundation and made available for free usage worldwide in order to spread information on food security as widely as possible.
 
Topics to be covered will include food production, food security and safety, food waste, agriculture and land use, under nutrition and malnutrition, and food affordability among others.
 
Media’s critical role in transforming lives
 
Under the shared view that trusted news and information is a key tool in the fight for human rights and specifically against hunger, the partnership aims to highlight the importance of providing accurate, updated and helpful information about hunger, nutrition and food production challenges.
 
“I am fully convinced that the media play a critical role in every society, not only informing and raising people’s awareness, but also being able to transform their lives,” Graziano da Silva said.
This potential is “far more significant when it can benefit and change the lives of people who suffer from chronic hunger and improve their food security,” he added. 
 
The Director-General also underlined the importance of considering nutrition a public issue and a main element of the Post-2015 Development Agenda.
 
“Hunger and food security-related issues are underreported,” said Goldsmith.  “With population growth and increased demand for food, food security is such a critical issue that we cover.” 
 
Goldsmith stressed that this new partnership is an opportunity to make the public aware, which she said was the first step to taking the problem seriously and making changes that can impact lives.
 
“Ending hunger is a difficult and complex task, but with the invaluable contribution of partners like the Thomson Reuters Foundation to our work, we can definitely meet the challenge,” Graziano da Silva said.
 
The United Kingdom’s commitment to tackle malnutrition
 
The United Kingdom Permanent Representative to FAO, Ambassador Neil Briscoe, said: “The story needs to be heard loudly. In a world of competing priorities, it is easy for some of these longer-term issues to get drowned out.” 
 
“Partnerships like today’s can help make the story long-lasting and underscore that hunger is not going away, and unless we give it the urgency that it deserves we will fail.”
 
He referred to the UK’s strong commitment to tackle malnutrition and food insecurity as part of a “moral imperative to help those who don’t have enough food to reach their physical and cognitive potential.” 
 
Briscoe reiterated that this can only be done as a multi-stake holder effort. “We can only deliver if we involve governments, UN organizations, the private sector and civil society, often the best source of information on the ground,” he said.
 
The Thomson Reuters Foundation is the corporate charity of Thomson Reuters, the global news and information provider, and is headquartered in London, United Kingdom.