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FAO Establishes Food Security Award

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The African Union (AU) has established a “Food Security Award” in honor of the outgoing Director-General of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Jacques Diouf as a continuing tribute to his stewardship of the Organization.

The $25,000 dollar prize will go to the improvement of small-scale farming and elimination of post-harvest losses in rural communities, agriculture innovation and environmental sustainability.

The Prize will be awarded to a member state or institution that has made an outstanding contribution to achieving food security every two years.

Diouf steps down on 31 December 2011 after 18 years of service to the Organization during which the world was faced with food insecurity, food price instability and climate change challenges of exceptional magnitude and unprecedented complexity.

Under Diouf’s guidance, the Organization has taken major steps towards resolving these problems by ensuring that agriculture is back on the global agenda.

FAO’s initiative on Food Security aims at reaching the goal of halving the number of hungry people in the world by 2015 (currently estimated at close to 1 billion people), as part of its commitment to the Millennium Development Goals or MDGs.

A budget for the 2012/13 biennium has been approved for the Organization by governing members at the just ended FAO conference of governing members, equivalent to a 1.4 percent increase over the current biennium.

The level of the budget and its unanimous adoption was considered an expression of confidence in the Organization by the Conference, which last week elected José Graziano da Silva, a national of Brazil, to be the next Director-General, starting on 1 January 2012. In addition, FAO expects some $1.4 billion of voluntary contributions from members and partners over the next biennium.

The fact that such extra-budgetary resources exceed the regular budget is further evidence of Members’ confidence in the Organization, Diouf said in his closing speech to the Conference.

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