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Food Safety – Two agreements reinforce Italy-FAO relations

Food safety, sustainable agriculture, combating hunger and malnutrition are the themes that bolster diplomatic relations between Italy and FAO through two important agreements. The first agreement, between FAO and La Sapienza – University of Rome, was signed by Eugenio Gaudio, the Rector of Rome’s largest university, and Daniel Gustafson, the Deputy Director General of FAO, and envisages sharing and exchanging knowledge and expertise, promoting innovative research techniques and building skills. The second agreement is between FAO and three networks of Italian NGOs – AOI, CINI and Link 2007 – and creates the groundwork for closer cooperation in areas of mutual interest such as rural development and combating hunger and malnutrition.  

The cooperation between FAO and La Sapienza University is already long-dated on issues like food safety and sustainable agriculture, and it is further consolidated through the agreement. “This agreement draws the tangible prospect of a well-structured cooperation between Italy’s university system and the FAO. It is a pleasure for us to start off from one of the largest universities in the world located in the same city as the FAO headquarters,” said Ambassador Pierfrancesco Sacco, the Permanent Representative of Italy to FAO, at the agreement signing ceremony. Recalling the “strong message launched to FAO by Prime Minister Renzi on World Food Day” last 16 October, Ambassador Sacco assured: “We, Italy and FAO, aim to work increasingly better together in fighting hunger and malnutrition.” The four-point agreement will contribute to upgrading statistical data analysis models for food insafety (like the FAO’s “Voices of the Hungry” Project) and for the agricultural sector worldwide. As for food safety, greater effort will go into improving the nutritional quality of food (mention should be made for example of the FAO’s work to sample mycotoxins). The goals set forth in the agreements will be primarily targeted by academic syllabuses: FAO and La Sapienza University undertake to promote and reinforce platforms on which to share knowledge and good practices (Community of Practice) on the role of agriculture in tackling climate change; to encourage dialogue on themes like monitoring the achievement of the sustainable development goals, responsible investments in agriculture, the International Year of Pulses, and so on.     

Another important milestone in FAO-Italy relations is the agreement signed with the three networks of Italian NGOs: AOI, CINI and Link 2007. The agreement reaffirms FAO’s attention on cooperating with the civil society of Member Countries. “The Italian NGOs will finally have a structured relationship with FAO. This is the spirit not only of the reform of Italian cooperation but especially of the new global agenda of sustainable development,” commented Ambassador Sacco. The agreement, which was formalised in the presence of Mr Gustafson and the representatives of the three networks – Silvia Stilli for AOI, Antonio Raimondi for CINI and the president of Link 2007, Paolo Dieci – aims at facilitating and enhancing dialogue between the parties and promoting the pursuit of new cooperation opportunities on the field in terms of resilience policies (the capacity to face up to climate change), food security and peace, and youth and social cohesion policies.   

Permanent Representation of Italy to the UNO Organizations in Rome