The European Union received today the first ever Jacques Diouf award from the UN’s Food and Agriculture organisation (FAO), in recognition of its pioneering work on the EU Food Facility, which has so far improved the lives of more than 59 million people in 50 countries.
José Manuel Barroso, President of the European Commission, accepted the award on behalf of the EU at a ceremony in the 38th FAO Conference in Rome today. President Barroso said: “I am delighted to accept this award on behalf of the EU. The EU has long been the world’s largest donor on food security and nutrition, and it’s very rewarding to see our work being recognised in this way. It has given us the incentive to now make sure that we do even more to help those who need it most by using the prize to top up funding for our work in food resilience and nutrition going forward’.
The FAO’s prize is named after Jacques Diouf – a Senegalese diplomat who was Director-General of the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) from January 1994 to 31 December 2011.
The EU Food Facility
The EU’s groundbreaking €1 billion Food Facility was set up in 2008, during the food crises which hit the Horn of Africa and the Sahel to provides substantial and swift support to help the worst affected people. Recent results show that in the three years since it began, the Facility has provided indirect support to 93 million people, led to the vaccination of over 44.6 million livestock, and helped to train 1.5 million people in agricultural production. It has boosted sustainable agricultural production from small-scale farmers, reduced post-harvest losses and facilitated access to markets. Beneficiaries saw a 50% increase in agricultural production and a rise in the household annual income of on average €290.
EU’s work on food security and nutrition
Last week, European Commissioner for Development, Andris Piebalgs, announced new EU funding of-€3.5 billion between 2014-2020 to improve nutrition in developing countries.It is just an example of how determined the EU is to make malnutrition history for once and for all.
The EU has also committed to supporting partner countries to reduce stunting (when children are chronically underweight or small for their age due to a lack of access to healthcare and nutritious food) in children under five by at least 7 million by 2025: 10% of the World Health Assembly goal.
Such commitments are crucial: 870 million people in the world are food insecure; 165 million children suffer from chronic malnutrition and 52 million children from acute malnutrition.