15 April 2015, Brussels/UNFAO: FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva, in a speech today to the Committee of Ambassadors of the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) group of countries, reiterated the Organization's commitment to addressing food security and nutrition and also stressed the need to tackle as a high priority the impacts of climate change
"Hunger is only one face of malnutrition. At the other extreme we have obesity, which is becoming a concern as big as or even bigger than undernourishment, particularly in the Caribbean and the Pacific," the FAO Director-General said, speaking before the Committee in Brussels.
Graziano da Silva also emphasized the threat posed by climate change, noting that its impacts are not evenly distributed, but that tropical regions, home of many ACP members, "are among the most affected regions".
He suggested some measures ACP countries can take to build resilience and adapt food systems while coping with changing climate patterns. "Sustainable land and water management, and approaches such as climate-smart agriculture and agro-ecology are tools that can help" to address this issue, Graziano da Silva said.
Cyclone Pam's aftermath and climate negotiations
The FAO Director-General cited Cyclone Pam that hit Vanuatu and other small islands in the Pacific Region in March, as a "reminder of the vulnerability of Small Island Developing States to natural disasters and to climate change". He informed the ACP Ambassadors that FAO has just set up a Trust Fund to address this specific issue.
Graziano da Silva also urged ACP countries to engage in the COP21 climate negotiations that will be concluded next December in Paris.
Referring to the outcome of COP 21, he said that "we look forward to a new, global, legally binding climate agreement," but that the "agriculture sector can neither be asked to pay the price for all greenhouse gases emissions, nor to clean the emission from other sectors".
"This is the point that FAO wants to highlight in those negotiations," Graziano da Silva emphasized, adding that the Organization is able to provide "tailored assistance" to ACP member states at the negotiations.
ACP's top officials welcome changes at FAO
In his speech, ACP Secretary-General, Patrick I. Gomes, praised the transformational changes that have taken place at FAO since Graziano da Silva took office as Director-General in 2012.
"He (Graziano da Silva) has spearheaded reforms that have entailed, among other things, refocusing FAO's work, strengthening its institutional capacities and its partnerships with civil society, the private sector and academia, and boosting the FAO's support for South-South Cooperation," Gomes said.
"Dr. da Silva has already achieved the transformation of the FAO into a knowledge organization, firmly grounded in reality, by strengthening its field presence and instilling a more decentralized approach," the ACP Secretary-General added.
In his intervention, the chair of the meeting, Ambassador Samuel Chandler of Barbados, said that ACP has long regarded FAO as "a valuable partner" in its efforts to attain the Group's stated objectives.
"We look forward to working closely with FAO to address the challenges to our development," Chandler added.
Today's meeting was attended by around 60 Ambassadors and representatives of the ACP countries in Brussels.
The Group is composed of 79 African, Caribbean and Pacific nations: Angola, Antigua and Barbuda, Belize, Cape Verde, Comoros, Bahamas, Barbados, Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Congo (Brazzaville), Congo (Kinshasa), Cook Islands, Cote d'Ivoire, Cuba, Djibouti, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Fiji, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Grenada, Republic of Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Equatorial Guinea, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, Kenya, Kiribati, Lesotho, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Marshall Islands, Mauritania, Mauritius, Micronesia, Mozambique, Namibia, Nauru, Niger, Nigeria, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Rwanda, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Solomon Islands, Samoa, Sao Tome and Principe, Senegal, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Africa, Sudan, Suriname, Swaziland, Tanzania, Timor Leste, Togo, Tonga, Trinidad and Tobago, Tuvalu, Uganda, Vanuatu, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
– FAO Media Office