Italy and FAO discuss migration, hunger and the upcoming Italian G7 presidency

©Palazzo Chigi

Prime Minister Matteo Renzi and FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva hold talks


The Mediterranean migration crisis and ways in which Italy’s upcoming presidency of the Group of Seven (G7) can help boost efforts to achieve the international community’s Sustainable Development Goals, topped the agenda during talks today between Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi and FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva.

Italian Agriculture Minister, Maurizio Martina, and Carlo Petrini, President of Slow Food and recently named FAO Special Ambassador Zero Hunger for Europe, also attended the meeting.

Graziano da Silva briefed Prime Minister Renzi – whose country takes over the G7 presidency in January 2017 – on aspects of FAO’s work, especially in relation to fighting hunger, malnutrition and rural poverty and on ways of adapting agriculture and food systems to climate change.

In particular, the discussion focused on how hunger, violence, climate change and the violation of human rights are forcing millions of people to abandon their lands in an attempt to find a better life abroad. Prime Minister Renzi said he was counting on FAO’s support on dealing with the current crisis in which thousands of migrants are crossing the Mediterranean.

«We need to strive for fairer societies, free from hunger and in which people, especially the youth are not forced to migrate in order to survive,» Graziano da Silva said. «There can be no peace without food security and no food security without peace,» the FAO Director-General added, stressing the international community’s commitment to end hunger by 2030.

FAO programmes aimed at assisting small-family farmers and fishers to access natural resources can contribute substantially to the creation of more equitable and inclusive societies, Graziano da Silva explained.    

Promoting sustainable development and educating people on nutrition

Today’s meeting also centred on promoting nutrition, healthy diets and sustainable food systems. Graziano da Silva said that Petrini in his role as FAO Special Ambassador, will help to promote the United Nations agency’s vision of a world free of hunger and malnutrition and where food and agriculture can help safeguard livelihoods, especially those of poor people.

Prime Minister Renzi reiterated the Italian government’s commitment to maintain Rome – which is home to three UN agencies, FAO, the International Fund for Agricultural Development and the World Food Programme – as a global hub for food and nutrition security.