FAO Director-General addresses 6th Global Forum of UN Alliance of Civilizations
FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva speaking at the 6th Global Forum of the UN Alliance of Civilizations
29 August 2014, Bali – “Hunger leads to conflict and conflict exacerbates hunger,” FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva said today at the 6th Global Forum of the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC).
The two-day (29-30 August) event is being held in Bali, Indonesia under the theme “Unity in Diversity: Celebrating Diversity for Common and Shared Values”.
Participants include UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, political leaders, and representatives of international and regional bodies, the private sector and civil society.
Hunger and poverty at the root of many conflicts
In his statement, Graziano da Silva noted how hunger and poverty are at the root of many conflicts and political fallouts that have produced more crises in the world than natural disasters.
He cited for example how the steep increase in food prices in 2008 sparked riots in many countries over rice, bread, or disputes over access to land and water and how such social conflict led to the fall of several governments.
The FAO Director-General said that providing food security for all people was an essential requirement “to build the future we want – a peaceful, prosperous, inclusive and tolerant future.”
Development cannot be sustainable if millions of people are left behind – a concept that “echoes the values from many different religions,” the FAO Director-General added.
Diversity central to FAO’s work
In his statement, Graziano da Silva noted that providing food security and combating poverty requires dialogue between different cultures, faiths and races in accordance with the founding principles of UNAOC with which FAO has reached an understanding to work together.
Diversity is central to the way FAO as an organization with 194 member states works in providing technical expertise in fisheries, agriculture, forestry and nutrition, the Director-General noted.
The partnership between FAO and UNAOC will help to ensure that food can be used as a bridge to improve cross-cultural relations and to promote shared prosperity, Graziano da Silva said.
UNAOC which is supported by 114 states and 25 international organizations works to develop innovative models to defuse tensions that stem from religious, ethnic and cultural differences.
UNAOC’s 6th Global Forum includes sessions dealing with promoting harmony through inter-religious and cross-cultural dialogue, the role of women in fostering understanding among cultures and social inclusion and migration.