FAO in Emergencies: 10 years of support from Italian cooperation

This article first appeared in Onuitalia, independent news site on Italy’s contribution to the life and ideals of the United Nations

by Matteo Meloni

Twitter: @melonimatteo

NEW YORK, OCTOBER 30 2015 –  From the plans to revive Ache’s tsunami-hit aquaculture industry in 2005 to current efforts to support Madagascar in the Locust crisis: within the last 10 years, Italy has intervened in emergencies on several occasions with logistic and financial aids to other nations. Recently the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) celebrated Italy’s support with a tweet that exemplifies how strong the Italian commitment is to the topic of food emergencies.

After the earthquake that hit Nepal in April, Italy immediately provided a grant of € 400.000 to the FAO, guaranteeing farmers the grain storage to prevent further food losses, seeds for summer planting and livestock support to keep surviving animals healthy and productive. The project, which began May 13, 2015, directly supported nearly 6000 severely affected families in 6 of Nepal’s most prominent districts.

1In June of 2015, Italy and other UN partners contributed an additional $3 million USD for emergency relief in order to resume agricultural activities and stave off the threat of prolonged food insecurity. The most urgent needs for the cropping season included seeds, fertilizers, tools and technical support. The repair and functioning of irrigation systems were critical for the winter cropping season, as well as the provision of barley and wheat seeds.

Much like the relations between Italy and its dedication to global commitment, the relations between Italy and the Middle-East countries has always been strong. In 2013, Italy made a contribution of approximately € 700.000 to support the winter wheat production in the Syrian Arab Republic. The main goal of the project not only aided in improving food security, but also assisted in improving the livelihood and nutrition conditions of vulnerable households living in the crisis-affected areas of Aleppo, Al-Hasakeh, Hama and Idleb governorates through the provision of cereal seeds.

In the last ten years FAO and the Italian Cooperation have worked together to address multiple challenges faced by 2Palestinians in maintaining their livelihood. Because of these initiatives, thousands of families now have greater and more sustainable access to vital livelihood supplies and services through activities such as rangeland rehabilitation by using drought-tolerant shrubs, the establishment of mobile veterinary centres, and the installation of rainwater cisterns and grey wastewater treatment units, which maximize scarce water resources.

In 2011, Italy supported eight-thousand families living in the provinces of Pyongyang, South Pyongan, North Hwanghae, South Hamgyong and South Hwanghae of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, by increasing potato production, strengthening multiplication of seed potato in net houses, and improving storage facilities.

The recent visit in Italy of the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, and his speech at the Italian Parliament, with the presence of the President of the Republic Sergio Mattarella, Senators, and Deputies of the Italian government, reaffirmed the importance of Italy’s role in international relations and its dedication to “leading across the rule of law agenda, lending the world its expertise in dealing with transnational crime and other threats,” ultimately proving how strong the Italian commitment is to the values and goals of the UN.

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