FAO Conference focuses on sustainable rural development as a response to conflict, climate change and migration
3 July 2017, Rome – The number of hungry people in the world has increased since 2015, reversing 25 years of progress, FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva told member states today at the opening of the agency's biennial conference.
Graziano da Silva stressed that almost 60 percent of the people suffering from hunger in the world live in countries affected by conflict and climate change.
FAO currently identifies 19 countries in a protracted crisis situation, often also facing extreme climatic events such as droughts and floods.
FAO has signaled high risk of famine in northeast Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan and Yemen with 20 million people severely affected.
The livelihoods of these mostly rural people have been disrupted and “many of them have found no option other than increasing the statistics of distress migration,” Graziano da Silva said.
“Strong political commitment to eradicate hunger is fundamental, but it is not enough,” he said. “Hunger will only be defeated if countries translate their pledges into action, especially at national and local levels.”
“Peace is of course the key to ending these crises, but we cannot wait for peace to take action” and FAO, the World Food Program and the International Fund for Agricultural Development are all working hard to assist vulnerable people, he said. “It is extremely important to ensure that these people have the conditions to continue producing their own food. Vulnerable rural people cannot be left behind, especially youth and women.”
He addressed the FAO Conference (3-8 July), the organization's highest governing body which reviews and votes on the program of work and budget and discusses priority areas related to food and agriculture. Some 1,100 participants will attend the meeting, , including one head of state, one prime minister, 82 ministers and numerous representatives from international organizations, the private sector and civil society.
FAO's top priorities for the next two years include promoting sustainable agriculture, climate change mitigation and adaptation, poverty reduction, water scarcity, migration and the support of conflict-affected rural livelihoods as well as ongoing work on nutrition, fisheries, forestry and Antimicrobial Resistance.