Agriculture sector key to protecting livelihoods, addressing conflict and climate change risks
FAO’s press release
The reinstatement of agriculture’s pivotal role for development strategies is recent and linked to the mobilization of the international community on food insecurity issues and global agricultural challenges following the riots of 2007-2008.
In a press release (reproduced below) published by the FAO at the World Summit on humanitarian action, which took place from 23rd to 24th May in Istanbul, the organization reminds us of agriculture’s central role in risk and crisis management in a context of geopolitical pressure, climate risk and humanitarian emergencies1. From armed conflicts in the Middle East to drought in southern Africa, agriculture can and must play a distinguished role when facing these challenges.
Agriculture is undeniably of strategic importance for the future of humanity: it is the very basis of food security and is the foundation for economic development and the fight against poverty. It is for this reason that it is essential that food and agriculture be managed as Global Public Goods2. However, as pointed out by Jacques Carles, Executive Vice President of momagri3, a Global Public Good only really becomes such when the right conditions are united for it to be managed by an international cooperation with the right instruments. Otherwise, it is mere invocation, theory or ideology all of which have blighted international negotiations for decades.
momagri Editorial Board
Agriculture, forestry and fisheries are central to ensuring food security and protecting livelihoods and play a key role in changing the way we manage risks and crises including natural disasters stemming from climate change, FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva today told participants at the World Humanitarian Summit.
"Food and nutrition security, sustainable development, addressing humanitarian crises, conflict resolution and peace building: these are different facets of the same challenge," he said.
The first condition to resolve conflicts is finding political solutions and this requires states and governments to uphold their responsibilities, Graziano da Silva said.
"To move beyond business as usual, we need to broaden the scope of interventions - completing and supporting, not replacing - humanitarian response," he added. "We need to prioritize investments in prevention and resilience, precisely so that we can help reduce future humanitarian needs".
FAO commitments: from delivering aid to ending need
The Director-General noted that for decades FAO has worked in, and across both the humanitarian and development spheres in order to save lives, protect and restore livelihoods, combat hunger, malnutrition and poverty while striving to build resilience and sustainable food systems.
At the World Humanitarian Summit FAO is making several key commitments. These include scaling up the Organization's work on social protection and cash transfer programmes by linking them to agriculture and rural development, and scaling up initiatives that link more closely food security and climate change adaptation measures.
FAO is also committed to working with key partners including national governments, the private sector, civil society and local communities in developing an integrated framework for protracted crises that supports greater alignment among humanitarian, development, peace and human rights actors.
In this context, Graziano da Silva today joined UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and other top officials from six other UN institutions at the Summit to sign the document "Commitment to Action: Transcending humanitarian-development divides - Changing People's Lives: From Delivering Aid to Ending Need".
Among other things, the Commitment to Action refers to the new way of humanitarian work elaborated in the UN Secretary-General's report for the Summit One Humanity: Shared Responsibility.
It calls for a better use of resources and capabilities, improving the outcomes related to the Sustainable Development Goals for people in situations of risk, vulnerability and crisis in order to reduce humanitarian needs over the long term.
The Commitment also calls on the signatories to galvanize new partnerships and collaboration, including through the private sector, local actors or Multilateral Development Banks to provide additional capabilities and resources in support of achieving measurable outcomes for people and communities.
In addition the signatories pledged to introduce key changes to the way they work in contexts that enable the putting in place of: i) pooled and combined data, analysis and information; ii) better joined up planning and programming processes; iii) effective leadership for collective outcomes; and iv) financing modalities to support collective outcomes.
1 The entire press release is available from
2 The term Global Public Good signifies “a good that must be managed collectively at the international level and according to subsidiarity principle, that is to say that any field of action that can be better managed by a global governance system than by a national or sub-regional governance system
3 The entire Jacques Carles’ interview is available from