FAO Director General José Graziano da Silva highlighted the potential of south-south Cooperation and reiterated FAO’s commitment “to strengthen and channel exchanges between Latin America and Sub-Saharan Africa with the aim to adopt, adapt and broaden best practices that promote agricultural development.”
Graziano da Silva’s comments came during the second Sub-Saharan and Argentinean Agriculture Ministers Meeting in Buenos Aires (20-23 August), focused this year on “Efficient Agriculture for a Sustainable Agricultural Development.” Ministers are gathering at the event to reinforce South-South agricultural cooperation between emerging countries.
“It is time for Latin America to increase its contribution to African development,” said Graziano, highlighting opportunities for reinforcing two-way agricultural cooperation between countries that share similar challenges as well geographic, climate and social characteristics.
Norberto Yauhar, Argentina’s Minister of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries, lauded the role that FAO plays in promoting international cooperation, and voiced his government’s strong commitment to strengthening bilateral relations and cooperation with African nations. “In Argentina we are developing our Programa Agricultores sin Fronteras (Farmers without Borders Program) as a way to actively share our experiences and lessons learned with other countries,” he said. “True cooperation must be grounded in putting knowledge into practice,” Yauhar added.
Cooperation is key
Graziano da Silva also emphasized that international- and multi-stakeholder cooperation will play a crucial role in meeting the Zero Hunger Challenge, launched by UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon at last year’s Rio+20 Summit.
FAO’s Director-General cited the example of the High Level Meeting of African and International Leaders, held this July in Addis-Ababa under the auspices of the African Union, FAO and the Lula Institute. During the Addis meeting, African leaders, together with representatives of international organizations, civil society, the private sector, cooperatives, farmers, youth groupss, academia and other partners unanimously adopted a declaration to calling for an end hunger in Africa by 2025 through better coordination of policies to promote sustainable agricultural development and social protection.
“International cooperation plays an important role in achieving the sustainable and hunger-free future we all want because, in the globalized world we live in today, it is impossible to achieve the eradication of hunger and extreme poverty without working together,” said Graziano da Silva..
The international profile of South-South Cooperation has grown in importance in recent years and offers a different way of working to promote development.
Since FAO’s South-South Cooperation initiative was established in 1996, over 50 South-South Cooperation agreements have been signed and more than 1 600 developing country experts and technicians have been deployed to support other countries’ food security initiatives.