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FAO hands over workstation for Civil Society

Enhanced collaboration aimed at defeating hunger and undernourishment

25 October 2012, Rome - FAO handed over a workstation for Civil Society organizations (CSOs) today to renew its commitment in enhancing collaboration with social movements.  

"Civil Society is a key FAO partner in ending hunger and malnutrition and the provision of this workstation is a tangible sign of trust and confidence between FAO and Civil Society," said FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva, addressing the Civil Society representatives present at the handover ceremony.

One of FAO priorities is to enhance collaboration with all the stakeholders to end hunger and undernourishment. The State of Food Insecurity in the World released by FAO recently, states that nearly 870 million people worldwide were suffering from chronic undernourishment in 2010-2012.

"870 million or one out of 8 people is too much," said Graziano da Silva. "The only acceptable number in terms of hunger is zero and that is why FAO is working in coordination and close collaboration with Civil Society organizations and social movements, in particular with those who represent the most vulnerable people to food insecurity," he added.

Improved communication

Welcoming the provision of the workstation to Civil Society, Cristina Gorajski Visconti, the Coordinator of the Ad Hoc Group of INGOs said, "This is a demonstration of FAO support for Civil Society to ensure their proper functioning and also to improve communication between FAO and social movements for mutually beneficial relations."

FAO hosted a Civil Society Forum in mid October where over 150 Civil Society representative from across the globe gathered to prepare and participate in the 39th Session of the Committee on World Food Security (CFS) last week.

"Our work, as members of the Civil Society Mechanism (CSM), requires strong coordination between organizations and social movements and we thank FAO for the workstation that undoubtedly will be of great help in coordinating our efforts," said Jorge Stanley Icaza, a member of the CFS Advisory Group.  

CSM is an international mechanism of CSOs that facilitates participation of civil society in the work of the CFS.

In order to revitalize FAO's collaboration with cooperatives worldwide, in July this year, FAO opened a new liaison office for cooperatives and producer organizations. Opening of liaison office for cooperative and workstation for civil society will help these key FAO partners to have a stronger voice in ending hunger and malnourishment.

Antonio Onorati, International Focal Point for the International Planning Committee for Food Sovereignty (IPC), noted, "Social movements, farmers, nomadic pastoralists, artisanal fishers, rural youth, women, agricultural workers, landless peasants and indigenous peoples, who are members of IPC are glad that FAO is providing a workstation for Civil Society in an effort to improve coordination between FAO and social movements."

Giving the poor a voice

Nearly 500 million small-scale farmers form the backbone of food production, yet often lack the means to support themselves and that is why it is of crucial importance to include the voices of the poor and malnourished in the highest level of policy discussion.

FAO is in the process of revising its strategy on partnerships with Civil Society which will give a new impetus to the efforts of the Organization to create a two-way dialogue with Civil Society and enhance collaboration on the national, regional and global levels.

"I hope this physical proximity will help further and deepen the already outstanding collaborative relationship between FAO and Civil Society organizations through continuous and systematic linkages and interaction with our departments and technical units, towards the joint construction of a fairer world free from hunger and malnutrition," Director-General concluded.

This is the third workstation that the Office of Communications and Partnerships (OCP) has handed over to key partners during 2012 to strengthen direct contact. The other two were for cooperatives and for the press.

Photo: ©FAO/Alessandra Benedetti
Handover ceremony