Underlining the importance of "glocalization" or decentralized cooperation, the head of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has said that development cooperation between rich and poor cities can, and must be, a central element in the fight against hunger.
"Being closer to citizens' needs and concerns, local authorities are able to blend institutional authority with people's solidarity and can be an effective vehicle for international cooperation," FAO Director-General Jacques Diouf told the second Glocalization Conference in Rome yesterday.
"Local authorities that wish to join in the global quest for food security for all will find in FAO a committed partner," he said.
Mr. Diouf presented an example of triangular partnership between the City of Rome, the City of Kigali in Rwanda, and FAO: The Rome-Kigali Model.
The Government of Italy and FAO have recently signed an agreement for decentralized cooperation aimed at improving the lives of rural communities in a number of developing countries. A joint FAO-City of Rome Municipality team travelled to Kigali last February to identify areas for improving food security and local conditions.
The mission revealed possibilities for participation of Rome's private sector in efforts to improve existing waste and sanitation facilities in the Rwandan capital, and the City of Rome is likely to work together with the City of Kigali to establish an improved general food market.
A similar programme has been launched between the cities of Montreuil in France and Yelimané in Mali and FAO, with Viet Nam providing low-cost experts under the FAO South-South Cooperation Programme.