Tuesday, January 17, 2012

New FAO chief moves on global hunger


UPON taking up new appointments to key positions, many would normally spell out their priorities that they would like to achieve during their term in office.
This was no exception to the incoming Director General of the Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO).
Two days after taking up his appointment early this month, FAO's new Director-General José Graziano da Silva told his inaugural press conference that the total elimination of hunger and undernourishment from the world would be his top priority.
Locals from the Huon district of  Morobe province undergoing food processing training at NARI-Bubia under an initiative Bris Kanda, a locally-based NGO. Imparting such skills to communities is vital in our efforts to promote food security.

Graziano da Silva noted that his term in office would be only three-and-a-half years and he felt there was no time to lose.
He would like see FAO to begin by scaling up its support to a number of low-income, food deficit countries, especially those facing prolonged crises.
Making such commitment is one thing but getting the desired result is another.
 While he would ensure FAO to doing its part, it would require the efforts of everyone concerned to fulfill his desire.
 As everywhere else, FAO alone will not achieve the commitment of Graziano da Silva.
Graziano da Silva is aware of this and called on all concerned to make to their commitment to achieving the global fight against food insecurity and hunger.
"Ending hunger requires the commitment of everyone, neither FAO nor any other agency or government will win this war alone", said Graziano da Silva, adding that he wanted to work "in the most transparent and democratic way" with member countries, other United Nations agencies, the private sector, civil society and other stakeholders.
Hunger eradication was the first of five strategic priorities he intended to pursue at FAO, Graziano da Silva said.
The others were: move towards more sustainable systems of food production and consumption; achieve greater fairness in the global management of food; complete FAO's reform and decentralszation; and expand South-South cooperation and other partnerships.
Issues of food insecurity and hunger are being pursued at all levels globally and organisations like FAO are at the forefront.
 They are aware of the threats posed by climate change which is likely to make the situation even worse.
They are also aware of what is unfolding in the Horn of Africa, a situation that can happen easily anywhere if unprepared.
 Therefore, they are calling on all responsible to make their commitments towards this cause, saying what is happening in the Horn of Africa is evident enough for us to work towards sustaining food security.
There are strong calls for appropriate policies and investment for sustained food security and efforts should made to finding long-term solutions for ending hunger and reducing poverty.
While for Papua New Guinea, food insecurity and hunger is not that serious and we remain relatively food secure.
However, we cannot use the present situation as an excuse for inaction.
We need work towards to finding long-term solutions for ending hunger and reducing poverty. Climate change, growing population, urbanisation among others are likely to put more pressure on food security and undernourishment.
We need work in line with the initiatives being untaken by organisations like FAO to address food insecurity and hunger.
As noted by Graziano da Silva, there must be concerted efforts by the government, private sector, NGOs and civil society to help ourselves.
We note that eradicating hunger altogether is a complex task.
It is a complex problem of infrastructure, governance, markets, education and so on.
But we believe these are things we can shape and strengthen.
That means that it is a problem that we can solve if we have the will and show some commitments towards it.
Organisations like the National Agricultural Research Institute, Department of Agriculture and Livestock and other organizations have already initiated efforts on this front.
We need to support them and do what we can towards this cause as these organisations will not achieve anything on their own.
We also need to work closely other organisation both regionally and internationally.
Unfortunate in PNG that there is lack of dialogue on many important issues like food insecurity, undernourishment, hunger, food price volatility, climate change to name a few.
These are issues being pursued at the global front with urgency.
We need to get involved in these efforts, and must continue our dialogue on these but locally, regionally and internationally for we will not achieve anything own our own.
For us, obviously the primary responsibility naturally lies on our own hands.
We certainly are aware of the things that need to be done and know where improvements are required.
We need to pool our resources together and rededicate ourselves towards this cause.
Only then will Graziano da Silva will have achieved his aspirations when his term is up.

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