Graziano da Silva presents his programme for FAO

Wednesday, 13 April 2011

Rome, Italy, April 13, 2011. During the 141º Sessions of the FAO Council, José Graziano da Silva presented his programme for the Organization. Graziano da Silva explained the pillars his candidacy is based on and highlighted his dedication to agriculture, rural development and food security; his knowledge of the organization; and Brazil’s success in fighting hunger and poverty.

FAO’S NEXT DIRECTOR GENERAL:
WORKING TOGETHER FOR THE GOOD OF HUMANITY


Graziano da Silva presents his candidacy to FAO

José Graziano da Silva has had a distinguished professional career in the fields of food security, agriculture, and rural development. Of particular note is his seminal contribution as Brazil’s Extraordinary Minister of Food Security and Fight Against Hunger, in charge of the implementation of the ”Zero Hunger” Program (“Fome Zero”).

Dr. Graziano da Silva, 61 years old, received his Bachelor’s Degree in Agronomy and Master’s Degree in Rural Economics and Sociology from the University of São Paulo (USP) and his Ph.D. in Economic Sciences from the State University of Campinas (UNICAMP). In addition, he has two post-Doctorate degrees in Latin American Studies (University College of London) and Environmental Studies (University of California, Santa Cruz).

Since 2006, he serves as FAO Regional Representative for Latin America and the Caribbean and Assistant Director-General.

Dr. Graziano da Silva has been nominated as Brazil’s candidate to the office of Director-General of FAO by President Dilma Rousseff and former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva.

Fighting Hunger

Since 1977, Dr. Graziano da Silva has devoted his efforts to issues related to rural development and fighting hunger while working in the academia, at the political level and with organized labour.

In 2001, he coordinated the formulation of the “Zero Hunger” Program (“Fome Zero”) and was subsequently appointed by the President of Brazil Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, to the position of Extraordinary Minister of Food Security and Fight Against Hunger, taking on the primary responsibility for the program implementation.

The “Zero Hunger” Program is not merely a reflection of President Lula da Silva’s overriding priority, but also represents a significant innovation in regard to the formulation of public policies to fight extreme poverty. A particularly relevant aspect of the program is its holistic approach; its openness to civil society participation in policy planning and resource allocation as well as in its monitoring; and the focus on gender as reflected in cash transfers to the women in the households, as a means of empowerment and ensuring more effective use of the resources.

In its first five years, the “Zero Hunger” Program has contributed to lift 24 million people out of extreme poverty and to reduce undernourishment in Brazil by 25%.

Work at FAO

In 2006, José Graziano da Silva became FAO Regional Representative for Latin America and the Caribbean and Assistant Director-General.

In this position, Dr. Graziano da Silva has sought to strengthen family farming and rural development as a path to enhance food security. Also important has been his key role in fostering the “Hunger-Free Latin America and the Caribbean Initiative”, which has made the region the first one in the world to commit itself to eradicate hunger by 2025.

Dr. Graziano da Silva has also promoted a substantive agenda connected to rural issues, advocating the strengthening of the sector’s institutions and for public policies to ensure full and inclusive development in the countryside, with particular emphasis to the problem of rural employment. On this front, three studies prepared by FAO’s Regional Office deserve to be mentioned: Boom Agrícola y Persistencia de la Pobreza Rural (Agricultural Boom and the Persistence of Rural Poverty), La Institucionalidad Agropecuaria en América Latina, Estado Actual y Desafíos (Agricultural Institutional Framework in Latin America, Current Status and Challenges), and Políticas de Mercado de Trabajo y Pobreza Rural en América Latina (Employment Market Policies and Rural Poverty in Latin America).

In addition, Dr. Graziano da Silva has actively engaged in promoting joint initiatives with other agencies of the United Nations, including ECLAC, WFP, UNDP, and ILO, and international agencies such as IICA and OIE, besides supporting South-South cooperation initiatives.

As Regional Representative, he has actively worked to implement internal reforms within FAO, with a special emphasis to the agency’s decentralization process, leveraging the role of national bodies, and vesting governments with a more prominent role in the definition of priorities. Equally important has been his openness towards civil society through the engagement of a multiplicity of political, social, and professional and labour entities, in FAO action.

Distinguished Academic Career

Dr. Graziano da Silva has had a long and distinguished academic career from 1978 through the present day, serving as a full professor at the State University of Campinas (UNICAMP) and Chair of the Master’s and Doctoral Program in Economic Development, Space, and Environment at UNICAMP’s Institute for Economics.

As a professor, Dr. Graziano da Silva has been recognized for his valuable contribution to the training and preparation of a new generation of young Latin American professionals dedicated to the issue of rural development and food security.

He is the author of important publications on rural development, food security, and agrarian economics. He has 25 pulished books, including O que é a questão agrária (“What is the Agrarian Question?”) and De boias frias a empregados rurais (“From Bóias Frias to Rural Workers”).

Personal Background

José Graziano da Silva was born in 1949. Brazilian and Italian by nationality, he is married to journalist Paola Ligasacchi and has two children and two grandchildren. He has working proficiency in English, Spanish, and Portuguese.

He is the recipient of numerous awards and honours, including: the Rio Branco Order, bestowed by the President of the Republic of Brazil; the Paulista Medal for Scientific and Technological Merit, conferred by the São Paulo State Government; and the Brazilian Society of Rural Economics, Administration, and Sociology Award (Prêmio SOBER).

I am proud to have been proposed as a candidate for the post of Director-General by both former President Lula and by the ruling President of Brazil, Dilma Rousseff.

In recent years, Brazil has combined fast rates of economic growth with reductions in income disparities. In doing so, Brazil has shown that it is possible for developing countries to expand both commercial and small-scale agriculture at the same time through applying distinct policies; to bring about fast reductions in the number of people suffering from hunger and malnutrition, and to begin to reduce the negative impact of its development on the environment.

Brazil is now ranked as one of the largest economies in the world and, like the other BRICS countries – Russia, India, China and South Africa – takes its international responsibilities seriously. It is currently a member of the UN Security Council, an influential member of the G-20 and an active participant in the G-77. Brazilians are engaged in UN peacekeeping operations in many countries.

Within the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, Brazil has played a very positive role in the reform of the Committee of World Food Security, helping to bridge the diverse perceptions of developing and developed countries and supporting participation of civil society, small-scale producers and the private sector. And it is sharing its experience in agriculture and food security through technical cooperation programmes with countries of Africa, the Caribbean and Latin America.

While there is no written rule on this, it is customary for the heads of UN agencies to be rotated between regions. Since FAO was founded it has had 7 Directors-General, of whom two have been from the United States of America and two from Europe, and one each from Asia, the Middle East and Africa. Latin America and the Caribbean is therefore the only region that has not yet provided a Director-General for FAO; moreover no Brazilian at present occupies any top level post in the UN system.

“Dr. José Graziano da Silva, given his distinguished academic background – as an economist and as an agronomist – as well as his political and professional experience, as a Minister and as the head of FAO’s Regional Office for Latin America and the Caribbean, possesses all the necessary credentials to serve as FAO’s Director-General.

We shared ministerial responsibilities during the Lula Government, in which Graziano was the architect of Brazil’s programs for fighting hunger. I have a first-hand knowledge of his work and, for this reason, give him the fullest possible support of my Government in his bid to lead FAO.”

Dilma Rousseff

President of Brazil

As a Brazilian, trained in both agriculture and economics, I have contributed to my country’s outstanding national achievements. Throughout my long working life, both as an academic and subsequently as a government Minister, I have been constantly engaged in professional activities – such as agricultural production, rural development and food security – that are fully in line with FAO’s mandate. Indeed, I have to confess that almost every day I wake up thinking about hunger and its solutions, the challenges facing small-scale farmers, and the tough conditions under which so many rural women have to live.

I led the team that designed Brazil’s Zero Hunger initiative that was launched by President Lula as the centrepiece of his government’s programme when he took up office in 2003. I was then appointed by him as Brazil’s first Minister for Food Security, faced with the huge challenge of creating an entirely new Ministry and delivering a highly ambitious programme in every corner of Brazil’s vast territory – with an annual budget twice the size of that of FAO!

I am proud that the Zero Hunger initiative is widely regarded as one of the most successful hunger reduction programmes in the world and is looked to by FAO and many of its member nations as a programme that they can emulate. It continues under President Dilma Rousseff’s leadership and has inspired other programmes that have been put in place in Brazil during the last few years to promote inclusive economic and social development.

For over 25 years, I have taught in universities, worked with rural organizations and advised Lula, from the time when he was a labour union leader until he was elected President. One of the lessons I learned from this experience is the vital importance of building consensus, so as to create a sound foundation for moving forward quickly on an agreed agenda.

I was appointed FAO’s Regional Representative for Latin America and the Caribbean in 2006. In this international assignment, I have actively participated in the process that has allowed for issues such as the strengthening of small-scale farming and food security to be placed on the regional agenda. I have broadened my knowledge and understanding of the agricultural and rural realities in FAO’s member countries, especially developing countries. I have engaged in fruitful partnerships with other UN agencies, development banks and regional organizations, working closely with the UN regional economic commissions. I have also developed close working relationships with many governments (including with donor agencies), parliaments, and civil society in pursuit of our common goals.

I am the only candidate who has concrete management experience within the Organization. This and the fact that I have been a strong advocate for reform are particularly important, given that the next Director-General will hold office for just 42 months and all member nations are impatient to bring the long reform process to a successful conclusion.

To sum things up, when I talk of agriculture, food security or economic development in developing countries, I do so from my experience in these fields.

José Graziano da Silva

April 2011

The proposal to create FAO emerged towards the end of World War II. FAO’s founders were profoundly conscious of the link between human deprivation, so visible during the Great Depression of the 1930s, and conflict. And so they argued that “Progress toward freedom from want is essential to lasting peace; for it is a condition of freedom from the tensions, arising out of economic maladjustment, profound discontent, and a sense of injustice, which are so dangerous to the close community of modern nations.”

This justification for the need for a strong and effective inter-governmental body to promote and to guide the development of agriculture and global food management systems in the interests of all humanity is as valid now as it was in 1945. The current rises in food and energy prices, combined with the slowness of recovery from the most serious economic and financial crises since the 1930s, remind us of the critical role that food plays in the workings of the global economy, and how vulnerable the poorest people are when things go wrong.

During its 65 years of life, FAO can claim to have contributed to a remarkable growth in food output. Average per capita food availability has risen by 40%. Enough food is now being produced to meet the needs of all of the world’s population that has risen in the past 65 years from 2.5 billion to almost 7 billion.

This success in expanding food output, however, has not been enough to overcome hunger. One in seven people in the world – almost one billion people – face hunger every day of their lives, and almost 3 billion more are affected by malnutrition, including health-damaging malnutrition caused by over-consumption of food. In other words, over half of the world’s population suffers from not eating properly. People are hungry, not so much because of lack of food availability, but mainly because they cannot afford the food they need for a healthy and productive life.

The spectacular growth in food output has also placed a huge strain on the earth’s natural resources. Farming has been extended into fragile ecosystems, damaging soils and threatening biodiversity; water resources are becoming over-exploited and polluted; intensive crop and livestock production contributes heavily to global warming; and oceanic fish resources are being depleted. Moreover, many rural families involved in farming, fisheries and forestry live in great deprivation.

At the same time, the fast-moving processes of globalization and the ICT revolution have fundamentally changed the ways in which countries relate with each other, and the speed with which information and knowledge can be accessed and used for the good of all. But they have also amplified many of the risks to which the safety and security of the world’s food supply is exposed. The spread of diseases and pests, and of invasive plant species has become faster; food safety, once a local concern, has assumed global dimensions; and the growing integration of markets can mean that the investment decisions taken in major financial centres can have a significant impact on the food security of millions of children, women and men in the world. Nowhere is this interdependence more obvious than in relation to the human-induced processes of climate change, where the growth of greenhouse gas emissions in countries that consume high amounts of energy is expected to change the conditions under which farmers throughout the world grow our food, and expose them to more frequent extreme weather events.

FAO, as the principal forum within which all nations of the world come together to address and resolve issues relating to the production and use of the world’s food, has to respond to these situations, shaping the way in which the world’s food system is managed, so that all people can eat adequately. This is a formidable responsibility, because the decisions taken – or not taken – by the Organization, affect the lives of all people on earth, whether producers or consumers, and because what is decided now will also have a fundamental impact on the livelihoods of future generations. It is vital the FAO’s member governments endow it with the authority and capacity to act effectively on their behalf in fulfilling this responsibility.

“The States Parties to the present Covenant, recognizing the fundamental right of everyone to be free from hunger, shall take, individually and through international cooperation, the measures, including specific programmes, which are needed:

(a) to improve methods of production, conservation and distribution of food by making full use of technical and scientific knowledge, by disseminating knowledge of the principles of nutrition and by developing or reforming agrarian systems in such a way as to achieve the most efficient development and utilization of natural resources;

(b) taking into account the problems of both food-importing and food-exporting countries, to ensure an equitable distribution of world food supplies in relation to need.”

International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural

Rights, Article 11, para. 2.

“The Nations accepting this Constitution, being determined to promote the common welfare by furthering separate and collective action on their part for the purpose of:

• raising levels of nutrition and standards of living of the peoples under their respective jurisdictions;

• securing improvements in the efficiency of the production and distribution of all food and agricultural products;

• bettering the condition of rural populations;

• and thus contributing towards an expanding world economy and ensuring humanity’s freedom from hunger;

• hereby establish the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, hereinafter referred to as the “Organization” through which the Members will report to one another on the measures taken and the progress achieved in the field of action set forth above.”

Preamble to the FAO Constitution

“The United Nations is an expression of our will to find a synthesis between the nation and the world…. It is an attempt to provide us with a framework inside which it is possible to serve the world by serving our nation, and to serve our nation by serving the world. Whatever may be the shortcomings of this experiment in world organization, it gives a sense of direction to the efforts of all men who are striving towards a better world.”

Dag Hammarskjöld
UN Secretary-General (1953-1961)

  • In my view, the next Director-General of FAO needs to focus his attention and energies on five main pillars of action. The first three of these relate to the major challenges that the Organization must address; the other two concern the improvement of its ability to cope with these challenges.

    Pillar 1 – Eradication of Hunger

    The success of FAO – and of its Director-General – will ultimately be judged by the speed with which the number of hungry people in the world is reduced. As is recognised in the Voluntary Guidelines to Support the Progressive Realization of the Right to Food, it is fundamentally wrong that anyone should suffer from hunger when all the means now exist to prevent this. Indeed, the continued existence of hunger and malnutrition on such a vast scale represents a failure on the part of FAO to fulfil its most basic function.

    The Organization now needs to exercise greater leadership in a global effort to eradicate hunger, looking beyond the Millennium Development target of halving it by 2015. Many countries will fail to reach this milestone, which is crucial to successfully attaining all the Millennium Development Goals. I am convinced, however, on the basis of my own experience in Brazil and that of other countries, that eradicating hunger is an attainable and affordable goal. If properly pursued, hunger eradication is entirely compatible with responsible economic development, sustainable natural resource management and the pursuit of peace. As we have seen in Brazil, well designed hunger eradication programmes not only improve nutrition, especially amongst children, but they also bring about rapid reductions in the number of people living in poverty, enhance the status of women – who have a strong sense of responsibility for the health of their children – and open new market opportunities, especially for small-scale farmers.

    With your support, I will seek to engage all nations in a voluntary commitment to eradicate hunger as soon as is humanly possible and to work with all interested governments and partner institutions in designing and implementing effective country-led programmes.

    Pillar 2 – Sustainable Food Production and Consumption

    FAO has a critical role to play in promoting a shift towards a new sustainable equilibrium between food production and consumption.

    In relation to production, the need is to accelerate progress in identifying, promoting and investing in the widespread uptake of truly sustainable but highly productive farming and fishing methods that can meet growing future demand for food in ways that conserve vital and scarce natural resources (land, fresh water, biodiversity, including forests, oceans and marine fisheries resources), improve the livelihoods of rural and coastal people, and are less vulnerable to climate change and other shocks. Food production will also have to play its part in mitigating climate change processes that, themselves, threaten the livelihoods of farming and fishing families in many parts of the world. Fortunately there are good precedents on which to build, that show that it is possible for farmers to raise yields, cut greenhouse gas emissions, sequester carbon, and make more money, all at the same time. In this connection, I welcome the recent launch by the CGIAR of its Commission on Sustainable Agriculture and Climate Change.

    But the task of meeting future food needs in an environmentally sound way will become all the easier to the extent that trends towards lower birth rates can be accelerated, and consumer habits can be influenced with the aim of cutting food waste and over-consumption and the health hazards that this causes.

    Pillar 3 – Greater Fairness in Food Management

    There are many high priority issues that FAO, together with the CFS, will have to address with a sense of urgency over the next four years. These include catalyzing the emergence of a truly effective system of global governance for food and nutrition security that can reduce and mitigate the impact of future crises; mitigation of, and adaptation to, the process of climate change; and issues relating to food safety, gender, rural employment and the sustainable use of natural resources, especially fresh water, land, forests and the oceans.

    FAO must act decisively in the public interest in creating a global institutional and regulatory framework that protects producers and consumers from major risks to the quality and availability of their food supplies, and is supportive of national efforts to end hunger. The huge benefits offered by the globalization of food management systems have to be matched by adequate safeguards to limit associated risks, including those related to the spread of pests and diseases and other threats to food safety. Safeguards are also needed to ensure the conservation of natural resources, including both forests and fishing grounds, as well as to moderate the price volatility that impacts on the livelihoods of the poorest members of society and undermines the incentive for farmers to expand their output.

    It is a feature of agriculture that, compared to many other realms of human activity, it is very exposed to multiple risks, many of which cannot be readily be predicted. One of the functions of FAO that must be strengthened is its capacity to respond in a timely and competent manner to emergent issues, through enhancing information and early warning systems and improving its ability to ensure that timely actions are taken to protect potentially affected people from hardship.

    Pillar 4 – Conclude FAO’s Reform Process

    In order to meet its members’ rightful expectations for greater efficiency and effectiveness and to focus its energies fully on the above challenges, FAO must bring its ongoing reform process to a quick and satisfactory closure so that it can then concentrate fully on programme delivery. Let us work together to ensure that 2012 will be the year for the final decisions on reform and that this concludes with a real decentralization of the Organization.

    As an internal candidate, I have a comparative advantage in leading the reform process to a good conclusion. While managing an FAO Regional Office since 2006, I have been forthright in my support for true decentralization, delegation of authority, and greater transparency and accountability in the Organization, and so it is natural that I am committed to all that the reform process stands for. I also intend to lead a move away from a hierarchical style of management towards a more collegiate approach within the Organization.

    Pillar 5 – Expand Partnerships and South-South Cooperation

    Tackling hunger and sustainability issues and ensuring greater fairness in food management cannot be done by FAO alone. It is vital, therefore, to consolidate the existing partnerships with the Rome-based agencies, WFP IFAD and Bioversity International, as well as to deepen linkages with the other members of the UN Secretary-General’s High-Level Task Force (HLTF) and civil society, including social movements. FAO should strongly support the reformed Committee of World Food Security as the leading international platform for coordination and policy convergence. The Updated Comprehensive Framework for Action (UCFA) proposed by the HLTF is a good starting point for adopting a more holistic approach towards the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals, especially MDG1, and should inform the CFS Global Strategic Framework for Food Security and Nutrition, in course of elaboration.

    Developing countries that have succeeded in expanding food production, preserving natural resources and fighting hunger, even in these difficult times, have valuable experiences to share with other nations that want to follow their examples. Most of the recent advances in tropical agriculture have their origins in developing countries.

    I wish to see FAO encourage all its member countries to play a bigger role in its work, not only as donors in the traditional sense of providing financial resources, but also through supplying highly relevant and qualified technical support to its programmes. Expanded South-South cooperation, including trilateral arrangements under which one country provides technical cooperation and another financial resources, can also help in mitigating the impact of any eventual budget constraints on the scope and scale of the Organization’s technical cooperation activities.

    The Benefits of this Approach

    Progress by FAO and its members and partners in relation to the first 3 pillars will bring great benefits to all nations and their people. The immediate impact of cutting hunger will be a reduction in human suffering and of needless premature death. The consequent improvements in nutrition and health will result in higher rates of economic growth where it is most needed – in the poorest countries and the poorest communities. And this, in turn, will relieve tensions and perceptions of injustice that sow the seeds of conflict and instability and that drive people to migrate from their homes in search of a better life.

    A shift towards greater sustainability in food production, distribution and consumption will not only take the pressure off natural resources but is also vital if we are to bequeath to future generations the resources that they will need for feeding themselves. As the recent crises that have engulfed the world have shown, all of us are now dangerously exposed to the huge risks posed by the ways in which actions on one side of the world can affect the lives of millions of people on the other side. We will all benefit from prudent safeguards.

  • The Organization can build on its long and fruitful history of catalyzing cooperation between developed and developing countries in promoting rural and agricultural development in support of food security and overcoming poverty. FAO’s efforts must continue to involve all countries, both developed and developing, but should particularly aim at supporting the efforts of developing countries and countries in transition to improve all aspects of agriculture, forestry and fisheries and in ending hunger. Special attention should be given in its policy assistance and technical cooperation to the smallest and most vulnerable countries, with a particular focus on the Low-Income Food-Deficit Countries (LIDFC) and the Small Island Developing States (SIDS).

    FAO is well equipped through its mandate and the composition and skills of its staff to address the big food-related issues that now face the world, from a multi-disciplinary perspective. But it can greatly enhance its impact through strengthening ties with partners that have complementary mandates and skills, and through deepening its engagement with civil society.

    The next Director-General of FAO will inherit an Organization, which is already committed to implementing a Medium-Term Plan, approved by Member Countries, covering the period 2010-2013. Should you elect me to that post, I will strive for the successful implementation of this Plan and for the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals. While doing this, I would also initiate wide-ranging consultations on how FAO, its members, its partners and its staff can, in the future, address more effectively the three major challenges of eradicating hunger, moving to truly sustainable ways of food production, and managing global food systems responsibly. The results of these consultations – whose starting points are the 2010-2019 FAO Strategic Framework and the results-based management systems adopted by FAO – would be reflected in the 2014-15 Programme of Work and Budget.

    While this consultative process moves forward, I would focus particular attention on ensuring the full implementation of the reform process as well as on other measures to improve the Organization’s performance in delivery of approved programmes, giving particular attention to the following main objectives and actions:

    Objectives:

    1. Enhance FAO’s competence and performance in fulfilling its core mission of promoting sustainable crop, livestock, fisheries, forestry and rural development with a special focus on food and nutritional security for all, now and in the future, in line with the strategies set out in the Updated Comprehensive Framework for Action and taking account of the recommendations of other recent studies on the future of agriculture, food security and nutrition;

    2. Reinforce FAO’s delivery capacities in those areas of its mandate related to normative activities, standard setting and regulation (including international treaties, codes of conduct and voluntary guidelines), statistics and knowledge sharing;

    3. Deepen partnerships with countries through enhancing the quality of technical cooperation for the design and implementation of country-owned policies and strategies;

    4. Learn from successful national and regional experiences and solutions, evaluate their adaptability to new contexts, and improve the Organization’s capacity to promote South-South cooperation;

    5. Give priority to support for small-scale farmers, as well as to the needy and the less-favoured groups, including women and young people, with the understanding that they must play a central role in strategies for reducing hunger and poverty and in the responsible management of natural resources;

    6. Leverage the potential of emerging financing and cooperation partners, while reinforcing traditional partnerships;

    7. Engage fully with the other Rome-based agencies (WFP, IFAD, Bioversity International), HLTF members and civil society in a more consistent partnership, both in relation to the work of the Committee on World Food Security and in moving towards the joint programming and implementation of humanitarian and development projects;

    8. Move progressively towards a more integrated UN system that would lead to increasingly consistent, comprehensive and effective responses to members’ needs and an enhanced capacity to address issues of global concern.

    Main Actions:

    1. Nurture the emergence of a strong sense of global co-responsibility amongst all FAO’s member nations;

    2. Conclude the implementation of agreed FAO reforms so as to enable FAO to fulfil its mission, and to achieve a better delivery at country level;

    3. Increase the dynamism of FAO, particularly through strengthening its ability to address issues on a crosscutting way; and enhance its responsiveness to the needs of Member States and the collective decisions of its Governing Bodies;

    4. Enforce transparency in procedures, implementation, decision-making, reporting, evaluation and accountability throughout the Organization: ensure that all recruitment is through rigorous selection procedures.

    5. Adopt a more participative, collegiate, inclusive and decentralized management style, including greater delegation of authority;

    6. Preserve and rebuild staff capacity, emphasizing professionalism and merit;

    7. Raise the level of public awareness and understanding of the major food and agriculture issues facing humanity so as to build political commitment, recognizing that the challenges of hunger, extreme poverty and the sustainable management of natural resources can be tackled better by the joint efforts of governments and civil society.

    “Let us move forward together to breathe new life and energy into our Organization so that it can rise to fulfil the roles foreseen for it within the new global governance arrangements for food security and nutrition, and become a driving force for putting in place truly sustainable production systems that conserve natural resources, while, at the same time, guaranteeing food for all. This is the route that FAO must follow to translate its motto Fiat Panis into practical action.”

    José Graziano da Silva

    April 2011
    “I will not be able to do anything except what we can do together.”

    Tancredo Neves

    Excerpt of the speech he should have delivered in 1985, when he took
    office as the first elected President ofBrazil after the dictatorship. Unfortunately,
    Tancredo Neves died before he swore in as President.