June 23 2021, Rome/Madrid – The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the Kingdom of Spain today acknowledged their joint efforts to fight global hunger and malnutrition in the past decade and pledged to further strengthen their collaboration in the future.
The Director-General of FAO, QU Dongyu, was joined by Spain’s Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, Luis Planas Puchades, and Spain’s Secretary of State for International Cooperation, Ángeles Moreno Bau, at a virtual event to release the first edition of their Partnership Report entitled FAO + Spain: Working for global food security and nutrition to mark their long-standing co-operation.
“The strategic alignment between our priorities is steadfast and so is the foundation of our long‑standing partnership,” said the FAO Director-General. “It reflects our shared goals and historic commitment to eradicate global hunger and malnutrition.”
Minister Planas Puchades congratulated FAO for “the tremendous role” it is playing and stressed that the Government of Spain and FAO were working together to find global solutions to combat malnutrition and hunger so that no one was left behind.
The Partnership Report captures the nature and scope of the cooperation between FAO and Spain over the past ten years and highlights areas where results were achieved at a global, regional and country level, thanks to Spain’s continued support for FAO from 2010 to 2020.
“The report we are launching today conveys the spirit of our excellent collaboration. It shows how our joint efforts have translated into concrete results on the ground,” the Director-General stated.
He thanked the Minister for the country’s generous funding and support – €245 million – for over 240 programmes and projects while noting the significant opportunities for further cooperation and knowledge exchange.
Secretary of State Moreno Bau cited various initiatives supported by Spain in Africa, Asia, and Central America to underline Spain’s commitment and shared objectives with FAO to eradicate hunger and achieve the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Spain’s objectives have long been closely aligned with FAO’s strategic framework and regional priorities. In recent years, Spain’s assistance has focused on Latin America and the Caribbean, the Near East and North Africa as well as Sub-Saharan Africa.
However, joint efforts to enhance food security, protect the livelihoods of farming families and improve the resilience of rural communities and support activities aligned with achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) have become even more challenging due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Director-General recalled fond memories of his trip to Spain on the margins of COP25 in December 2019 and how he enjoyed seeing first-hand the Spanish olive sector, emblematic of Spanish agriculture, and other agricultural activities during his visit to Córdoba. He also recalled his visit to the facilities of the International Agrifood Campus of International Excellence [ceiA3] of the University of Córdoba, and the Olive Germplasm Bank.
During his intervention, the Director-General also highlighted Spain’s support for the Globally Important Agricultural Heritage Systems (GIAHS), for which FAO has designated four Spanish rural sites, and noted the great potential for these sites to be part of a strong global effort to revitalize rural areas.
For many years Spain has been an important partner and worked closely with FAO, primarily focusing on the fisheries sector and the promotion of policies that guarantee the right to food, protect plant genetic resources and food security.
“I highly commend Spain’s determination to ensure that the fight against hunger and malnutrition remains high on the global political agenda, a commitment that has, over the years, reached the highest levels of leadership in the country,” Qu said.
In June 2015, Her Majesty Queen Letizia of Spain was named FAO Special Ambassador for Nutrition. In that role, Queen Letizia engages in raising awareness of global hunger challenges and building support for hunger eradication. The Director-General recalled his meeting with Queen Letizia in 2019 and her interest in FAO’s Hand-in-Hand Initiative and the Youth and Women Committees of FAO.
The Director-General also alluded to his meeting with Spain’s Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez during COP25 where they talked about strengthening collaboration.
Spain plans to continue to focus on projects in Latin America and the Caribbean, West Africa and the Sahel, as well as the Near East and North Africa.
FAO recently signed collaboration agreements with a number of Spanish entities: the Autonomous Regional Government of Galicia; Valencia City Council; the International and Ibero-American Foundation for Administration and Public Policies (FIIAPP); the Spanish and Portuguese-language media company, PRISA Group; Carlos III University; the Polytechnic University of Madrid; the city council of Madrid and publicly-owned enterprises such as the Spanish Development Fund, COFIDES, and agrarian transformation company, Tragsa.
Spain has been supporting a project under the Hunger-Free Latin America and the Caribbean 2025 Initiative.
Today’s event was moderated by Rodrigo de Lapuerta, Director of FAO’s Logistics Services Division and Director a.i. of the FAO Liaison Office with the European Union and Belgium.