Masaganang Agrikultura, Maunlad na Ekonomiya!

Philippine Delegation joins World Food Day Celebration and World Food Forum Flagship Event in Rome

Author: DA-AFID | 25 October 2023

The Philippine delegation, headed by Department of Agriculture (DA) Senior Undersecretary Domingo F. Panganiban, joined stakeholders, including Heads of Government, policymakers, experts, and representatives from civil society, youth, and indigenous organizations, during the celebration of the 2023 World Food Forum Flagship Event on October 16-20, 2023 in Rome.

The week-long event kicked-off with the World Food Day Ceremony on October 16, which is also the anniversary of the establishment of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) in 1945. The theme for the 2023 celebration “Water is Life. Water is Food. Leave No One Behind,” emphasized the crucial role of water in agriculture and the need for equal access to food resources. The event aimed to raise awareness regarding the vital connection between water, food, and the global effort to eradicate hunger and malnutrition.

Meanwhile, the World Food Forum (WFF) Flagship Event’s theme for 2023 is Agrifood Systems Transformation Accelerates Climate Action. The WFF, launched in 2021, is an independent, youth-led global network of partners facilitated and hosted by the FAO. It aims to spark a global movement that empowers young people everywhere to actively shape agrifood systems to help achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and a better food future for all. It is organized into three interlinked fora – the WFF Global Youth Forum, the FAO Science and Innovation Forum, and the FAO Hand-in- Hand Investment Forum.

“Let’s explore how we may promote investment opportunities in sustainable agri-food systems in the Philippines through this platform in the future,” Sr. USec Panganiban said.

The WFF hosted presentations from around 30 countries, showcasing investment and intervention opportunities through the FAO Hand-in-Hand Initiative (HIHI) Forum. The Philippines, being a middle-income country, was not eligible to be a beneficiary of this Initiative when it was launched in 2019. Nonetheless, FAO Chief Economist and FAO Deputy Director General in charge of the HIHI mentioned that this Initiative will now be opened up to all those who may be interested.

The FAO Hand-in-Hand Investment Forum aimed to mobilize public and private sector investments in selected priority areas, which are identified using sound criteria and methods to eliminate rural poverty and hunger. The Forum is designed to facilitate an inclusive dialogue among governments, the private sector, and development partners to achieve concrete results and improve the lives of the rural poor. Representatives from Multilateral Development Banks, national and global agrifood private sector entities, institutional investors, national development banks, and donors, among other stakeholders and development partners, were present to evaluate these opportunities.

On the events of the Science and Innovation Fora attended by the Philippine delegation, the DA Senior Undersecretary commented that the Philippines should continue leveraging science and innovation and international cooperation efforts along this line in boosting agricultural productivity and working towards agricultural modernization for the benefit of farmers, fisherfolk, consumers and all stakeholders in the agriculture and food value chain.

The Philippine delegation also attended events featuring youth initiatives, such as the event on Scaling Youth-led Solutions: Investing in the Next Generation.

Sr. Usec Panganiban remarked that the DA, through the Agricultural Training Institute, should further beef up its efforts in engaging and empowering Filipino youth to effectively and efficiently contribute and benefit from productive, resilient, and sustainable agri-food systems in the country as we all strive to attain our food security and nutrition goals.

On the margins of the WFF, the DA Senior Undersecretary had a “meet-and-greet” session with the Filipino staff employed at FAO Headquarters Currently, less than fifteen Filipino employees are working in FAO. Filipino employees in FAO are known to be diligent, hardworking, and able to deliver desired results. They offered to be a resource to further promote collaboration between the Philippines and FAO.

While in Rome attending the World Food Forum, the DA Senior Undersecretary also had bilateral meetings with the FAO Director-General Qu Dongyu and the  Italian Minister of Agriculture, Food Sovereignty and Forestry Francesco Lollobrigia. He also visited the Philippine Embassy in Rome upon the invitation of Ambassador and Permanent Representative to Rome-based UN Agencies Nathaniel G. Imperial. ###

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