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Joint EU / EU Member States Statement on the occasion of the 75th Anniversary of FAO and 2020 World Food Day

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Rome, 16 October 2020 - Watch the joint statement and read the full transcript of the speech by Ambassador Ulrich Seidenberger and EU Ambassador Alexandra Valkenburg on the occasion of the 75th Anniversary of FAO and 2020 World Food Day.

Ambassador Ulrich Seidenberger, Federal Republic of Germany, EU Presidency and Ambassador Alexandra Valkenburg, European Union Delegation
Ambassador Ulrich Seidenberger, Federal Republic of Germany, EU Presidency and Ambassador Alexandra Valkenburg, European Union Delegation© FAO /EUDeL
Transcript

Ambassador Ulrich Seidenberger, Federal Republic of Germany, EU Presidency

We deliver this statement on behalf of the European Union and its 27 Member States on the occasion of the 75th Anniversary of FAO and 2020 World Food Day.

On this World Food Day, we mark the 75th anniversary of FAO at a unique and challenging time.

The COVID-19 crisis demonstrates just how crucial multilateral action and institutions are to our collective health, prosperity and security.

This spirit of cooperation is the common DNA of the European Union and the United Nations.

At a time when the world is facing enormous challenges, we are convinced that multilateralism, with the UN at its core, is not an option but a necessity.

Strong and effective multilateral cooperation, based on universal values, and respect for human rights and international law are vital to securing peace, stability and prosperity for all, and to ensuring the protection of global public goods.

This is particularly true for food and agriculture, forestry and fisheries.

In its 75 years of existence, FAO has provided a forum where members can seek solutions to global challenges together. This has led to many important achievements, which we must conserve and consolidate.

FAO e.g. made a critical contribution to eradicating rinderpest, the first animal disease to be eliminated in the history of mankind.

It has also produced a wide range of norms and recommendations which are key to promoting sustainable agricultural development.

It has made a major contribution to important standard-setting work, particularly through the Codex Alimentarius and the IPPC International Plant Protection Convention.

And, of course, FAO has had a decisive role in combating hunger and addressing emergencies worldwide.

Yet much remains to be done.

  • We are not on track to eradicate poverty, hunger and malnutrition.
  • Antimicrobial resistance is threatening global health.
  • The environment and climate costs are increasing.
  • And deforestation and biodiversity loss continue.

We look towards building a future together

  • where food systems are sustainable, resilient and inclusive,
  • where they deliver healthy diets for all without impacting the environment and the climate,
  • and where they offer a decent living for farmers and workers along the entire food supply chain.

Achieving sustainable, resilient and inclusive food systems will, in particular, require empowering women and girls, and ensuring that they see their rights realised and respected. And it will also require creating prospects for young people in rural areas.

Ambassador Alexandra Valkenburg, European Union Delegation

The EU and its Member States have a long-standing and fruitful partnership with FAO. As prime contributors to FAO’s overall budget and as major partners in creating a sustainable world free of hunger, we are determined to continue working closely together in the future.

Today, as we strive to ‘build back better’, our common roadmap remains the 2030 Agenda and the Paris Agreement.

The European Green Deal, which is at the heart of the EU’s efforts to achieve sustainability and resilience, is a key step in this direction.

The UN Secretary General’s Food Systems Summit in 2021 will be a major global milestone,

and we are fully committed to achieving an ambitious outcome from that Summit – just as we also remain firmly committed to developing an ambitious global biodiversity framework in 2021.

We encourage FAO to continue working with members, the private sector, Civil Society Organisations and other international organisations to ensure an inclusive transition to sustainable agriculture and food systems, and to achieve food security for all.

  • Digitalisation and innovation, based on science and evidence-based solutions;
  • protecting biodiversity, genetic resources and natural ecosystems;
  • effectively implementing the ‘One Health’ approach;
  • promoting diverse innovative approaches, including agroecology;
  • and continuing to focus on high-quality normative work.

All of this will be key for FAO’s activities in this respect.

The global challenges that lie ahead will continue to require our full dedication.

We will live up to the commitments we made 75 years ago and combine our efforts to promote common welfare, contribute to an expanding world economy, ensure humanity’s freedom from hunger and build a more equal, sustainable and resilient world.

The EU and its Member States will remain strong supporters of FAO’s mandate. We are determined to continue working closely with all those who want to join forces in this endeavour.

 

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