FAO: Rio+20 is ‘golden opportunity’ to boost global food security efforts

A side event detailing preparations by the Food and Agriculture Organization for the 2012 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development or Rio+20 was held in Rome on June 28, 2011. The U.N. agency is pushing to put quest for food security in the heart of the upcoming Rio+20 conference. Photo by: Alessandra Benedetti / FAO

The U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization is pushing to put the “quest for food security” at the heart of the Rio+20 conference, whose outcome document remains under negotiations. 

FAO, in a report released May 30, encouraged participants of the upcoming U.N. Conference on Sustainable Development to help make sure the world will have enough food, as well as enough money to buy food, in years to come.

Development cannot be sustainable as long as there are people around the world who face hunger and suffer malnutrition because of lack of food or inability to access food, FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva said in the report.

The Rome-based agency emphasized, in particular, the need to reform existing agricultural and food systems and to create sustainable food production and consumption systems. In its report, it outlined six commitments it says Rio+20 participants should adopt:

  • Accelerate efforts to reduce hunger and malnutrition, with an eye on eradicating these in the near future.

  • Adopt the new voluntary food security and land guidelines prepared by the U.N. Committee on Food Security.

  • Support the implementation of agriculture development strategies that integrate environmental and food security objectives.

  • Ensure equitable distribution of the costs and benefits of the transition to sustainable production and consumption.

  • Make sure governance reforms are based on principles of accountability, transparency and participation.

  • Better coordinate objectives and financing sources for sustainable agriculture efforts.

With the release of the report, FAO is the latest to voice its expectations for Rio+20, following Brazil and U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, among others. Its push for food security is also timely as the topic is garnering a lot of attention in the international development community, including by the G-8 and the European Union.

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    Ivy Mungcal

    As senior staff writer, Ivy Mungcal contributes to several Devex publications. Her focus is on breaking news, and in particular on global aid reform and trends in the United States, Europe, the Caribbean and the Americas. Before joining Devex in 2009, Ivy produced specialized content for U.S. and U.K.-based business websites.