South-South Expo showcases successful solutions to food insecurity

Countries eye innovation, share ideas at week-long event

5 December 2001, Rome - The Fourth Annual Global South-South Development Expo (GSSD Expo) opened today in Rome, with more than 600 delegates from 150 countries convening to exchange and scale-up best practices and innovative solutions to complex food security challenges. The conference is hosted by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), and organized in conjunction with more than 20 United Nations agencies and partners.

The theme of the GSSD Expo is ‘Solutions, Solutions, Solutions!' as a concrete response to the strong
commitment made by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to help the Global South realize its shared aspirations of achieving sustainable and equitable development.

"We have already seen great progress thanks to southern solutions," stressed the Secretary-General in his statement. "We must now confront interlinked challenges through a broader campaign for sustainable

"Recent price hikes in world food prices are threatening to reverse decades of hard-won development gains in the South," said Macharia Kamau, Permanent Representative of the Republic of Kenya to the United Nations and President of the UN General Assembly High-level Committee on South-South Cooperation in his opening statement. "But," he added, "despite these growing concerns, there is reason for optimism in success stories of countries in the South that have transformed themselves from basket cases to bread baskets."

Rebecca Grynspan, Associate Administrator of the UN Development Programme said increased capacity and regional integration have fueled economic progress, and South-South flows of finance, technology, and trade have grown significantly, with large emerging economies playing a particularly strong role.

"These factors have contributed to the significant progress made towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals in many developing countries, as evidenced by the steep reductions in poverty and extreme hunger, improved child health and education, including for women and girls."

Manoj Juneja, FAO Deputy Director-General, said that a time when nearly a third of the world's population remains unable to adequately feed itself, the world also has the technological capability, and is actually producing enough food to feed everyone. "Sadly," he said, "while one in seven people on earth go hungry and are unable to consume even a basic meal, it is estimated that approximately a third of all food that is produced is wasted through either post-harvest losses or once it has reached the meal plate."

"We know a farmer's productivity increases nearly nine percent with four years of primary schooling," said Getachew Engida, Deputy Director-General of UNESCO. "We estimate that investing in girls' education could boost sub-Saharan Africa agricultural output by 25 percent."

Since its inception in 2008, the GSSD Expo has featured contributions from hundreds of partner countries, UN agencies, private sector enterprises and civil society organizations. The six thematic areas of GSSD 2011 are: (1) Agriculture, Food Security and Capacity Development; (2) Social Protection and Food Security; (3) Climate Change, Environment and Food Security; (4) Nutrition and HIV/AIDS; (5) Global Health and Food Security; and (6) Agribusiness, Renewable Energy and Food Security.

"It is not that we don't have the right policies and strategies," said Yiping Zhou, director of the UNDP Special Unit for South-South Cooperation. "It is that these are not where they are most needed!"

Photo: ©Fabio Massimo Aceto/Agenzia Grazie Neri
Farmers from Senegal benefited from the experience of their Vietnamese counterparts as part of FAO's South-South Cooperation programme.