United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation, FAO, has reiterated its commitment to addressing food security and nutrition as well as addressing the high impacts of climate change.
FAO Director-General, José Graziano da Silva, according to a statements by the organisation stated this while speaking to the Committee of Ambassadors of the African, Caribbean and Pacific, ACP group of countries in Brussels.
“Hunger is only one face of malnutrition. At the other extreme we have obesity, which is becoming a concern as big as or even bigger than undernourishment, particularly in the Caribbean and the Pacific,” he said.
Graziano da Silva also emphasised the threat posed by climate change, noting that its impacts are not evenly distributed, but that tropical regions, home of many ACP members, “are among the most affected regions.”
He suggested some measures ACP countries can take to build resilience and adapt food systems while coping with changing climate patterns.
“Sustainable land and water management, and approaches such as climate-smart agriculture and agro-ecology are tools that can help” to address this issue, Graziano da Silva said.
He cited Cyclone Pam that hit Vanuatu and other small islands in the Pacific Region in March, as a “reminder of the vulnerability of Small Island Developing States to natural disasters and to climate change”.
The FAO Director-General informed the ACP Ambassadors that FAO has just set up a Trust Fund to address this specific issue.
Graziano da Silva also urged ACP countries to engage in the COP21 climate negotiations that will be concluded next December in Paris.
Referring to the outcome of COP 21, he said that “we look forward to a new, global, legally binding climate agreement”, but that the “agriculture sector can neither be asked to pay the price for all greenhouse gases emissions, nor to clean the emission from other sectors”.
Graziano da Silva emphasized that “this is the point that FAO wants to highlight in those negotiations”, adding that the organization is able to provide “tailored assistance” to ACP member states at the negotiations.
In his speech, ACP Secretary-General, Patrick I. Gomes, praised the transformational changes that have taken place at FAO since Graziano da Silva took office as Director-General in 2012.
“He (Graziano da Silva) has spearheaded reforms that have entailed, among other things, refocusing FAO’s work, strengthening its institutional capacities and its partnerships with civil society, the private sector and academia, and boosting the FAO’s support for South-South Cooperation”, Gomes said.
He added, “Dr. da Silva has already achieved the transformation of the FAO into a knowledge organization, firmly grounded in reality, by strengthening its field presence and instilling a more decentralized approach”.
In his intervention, the President of the ACP’s Committee of Ambassadors, Samuel Chandler, said that ACP has long regarded FAO as “a valuable partner” in its efforts to attain the Group’s stated objectives”.
“We look forward to working closely with FAO to address the challenges to our development”, Chandler added.
FAO stated that the meeting was attended by about 60 ambassadors and representatives of the ACP countries in Brussels.

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