FAO chief emphasises role of agriculture in achieving sustainable development

29 January 2002

The Director-General of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), Dr. Jacques Diouf, today reiterated that agriculture has "important potential" for achieving the goals of an upcoming summit on sustainable development.

In a message to the committee meeting in New York meeting to prepare for the World Summit for Sustainable Development (WSSD) in Johannesburg, South Africa, Dr. Diouf said agriculture, forestry and fisheries should be an integral part of all events leading up to the Summit.

"Environmental degradation and poverty are strongly linked," Dr. Diouf said in the statement delivered on his behalf by the FAO Assistant Director-General. The FAO chief said initiatives to reduce poverty and hunger must be accompanied by sound environmental management. This can only be achieved if "the needs and motivations of farmers are given due consideration."

Poverty and food insecurity, the FAO's top issues, are major challenges to achieving the goals of the WSSD, which will be held in South Africa from 26 August to 4 September. The FAO believes poverty and hunger can be alleviated, as the planet produces enough food to feed all people. However, the Organisation has repeatedly called for a stronger political will and more financial resources to help developing countries achieve food security.


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