By Bernhard Schell
MARRAKECH (IDN) – The South Centre and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the UN have decided to join together to foster South-South Cooperation with the aim to improve food security, boost rural development, and address climate change in the Global South.
The five-year cooperation agreement – in the form of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) – builds on years of collaboration between the two organizations. It was signed on November 11 on the sidelines of the 22nd Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP22) taking place in Marrakech; Morocco from November 7 to 18, 2016.
Maria Helena Semedo, FAO Deputy Director-General for Natural Resources, and Vicente Paolo Yu, Deputy Executive Director of the South Centre, an intergovernmental organization of developing countries, signed the agreement.
The MoU envisages strengthening of cooperation between the two organizations based on their accumulated experience in policy research and analysis. It also envisions technical cooperation and capacity building activities to support developing countries in their efforts to eliminate hunger and malnutrition, reduce poverty, and address climate change.
The MoU further aims at achieving sustainable rural development under the framework of South-South cooperation, adding to global efforts to the achievement of the Agenda 2030 for sustainable development.
The secretariats of the two organisations said: “Both FAO and the South Centre share a common interest in supporting the developing world in its efforts to overcome major development challenges arising from chronic food insecurity, climate change and acute poverty.”
The rationale behind is that worldwide there are about 800 million food insecure people, while 2.1 billion people are poor, including 900 million who live in extreme poverty. “Enhancing the cooperation between the two organizations is an important step towards Zero Hunger and more sustainable rural development,” FAO said in a media release.
This partnership comes at a good time, according to FAO and the South Centre, when cooperation among developing countries is gaining a new momentum and looking ahead at the commemorations of the 40th anniversary of the first UN Conference on Technical Cooperation among Developing Countries held in Buenos Aires in 1978.
It was a landmark event for South-South Cooperation and for the role of UN agencies and other international organizations in boosting such format of cooperation. A series of celebrations will take place in 2018 to commemorate the event.
“We look forward to moving expeditiously in the implementation of our cooperation agreement in order to help developing countries enhance South-South cooperation in pursuing sustainable development, food security, and enhancing climate change actions,” said Yu, the South Centre’s Deputy Executive Director during the signature ceremony in Marrakech.
FAO and the South Centre will also promote sustainable management of natural resources including land, water, air and genetic resources for the benefit of present and future generations, help developing nations build resilient rural livelihoods, and apply more sustainable agricultural practices including organic and agro-ecology farming.
The South Centre is an intergovernmental organization of developing countries established in 1995. It currently has 53 Member States and its main objective is to promote South-South cooperation and sustainable development through policy research, analysis, advice and capacity building in developing countries.
FAO is a Specialized Agency of the United Nations system, established in 1945 to raise levels of nutrition and standards of living for all people in FAO Member Nations; to secure improvements in the efficiency of production and distribution of food and agriculture; to contribute toward expanding world economy and ensure humanity’s freedom from hunger and malnutrition in an economically, socially and environmentally sustainable manner. [IDN-InDepthNews – 15 November 2016]
IDN is flagship agency of the International Press Syndicate.
Photo: Vicente Paolo Yu (left), Deputy Executive Director of the South Centre, and Maria Helena Semedo (right), FAO Deputy Director-General for Natural Resources, during the ceremony of signature of the Memorandum of Understanding. Credit: FAO | South Centre