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G20 AGRICULTURE MINISTERS’ MEETING 3 JUNE 2016

By Jose Graziano da Silva
Director General FAO

FAO welcomes the e ort of the G20 and the Chinese Presidency to discuss how to promote food security, nutrition and sustainable agricultural growth in the context of Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development.

Promoting sustainable agriculture requires a renewed focus on innovation through research, technology and capacity development. FAO has already been supporting its Member Countries in the application of information and communications technology, ICT, in agriculture.

hi-wheatICT helps in the monitoring of crop growth, the utilization of mechanical and chemical techniques, fi eld management and harvest. ICT is also increasingly important in market early warnings and the use of open data.

In addition, telecommunications and mobile devices have the potential to provide internet access for millions of people and connect farmers with digital agriculture.

In order to ensure that farmers fully leverage ICT opportunities, it is essential to provide digital tailored assets, foster capacity development and facilitate the exchange of successful experiences.

FAO is developing a Digital Strategy to support the most vulnerable in rural areas through innovative environments and sharing knowledge. This Digital Strategy intends to integrate diff erent technologies, such as mobile, big data, cloud, satellite, internet of things and social platforms.

FAO is also using digital technologies on other fronts, ranging from the use of mobile phones to report animal disease outbreaks to the use of drones in postdisaster assessments.

One innovative example is our partnership with Google to make use of their satellite data and processing power. The expectation is that the new technologies and data made available through Google will allow FAO to usher in an unprecedented level of environmental literacy, especially in the forestry and fi sheries sectors.

FAO’s Locust Control Unit is another example of ICT application. It uses Google material to improve forecasts and the control of desert locust outbreaks.

FAO is contributing to the international eff orts to address Antimicrobial Resistance, AMR, through the Codex Alimentarius Commission. We are also working closely with OIE and WHO within the Global Action Plan on Antimicrobial Resistance, which seeks to ensure that all countries have the capacity to properly address this important issue.

FAO welcomes the appeal made by the G7 leaders in their declaration recently made in Japan. I quote: “Good progress has been made to combat AMR including the adoption of the WHO Global Action Plan on Antimicrobial Resistance and relevant resolutions by FAO and OIE. But more needs to be done”.

I agree that much more needs to be done and take this opportunity to call upon G20 Countries to support FAO in this global action plan with voluntary contributions, either financial or in-kind. Secondments are very welcome, since it has been difficult to find well-trained people in this area.

FAO has been working to reinforce the central role of agriculture and food systems within the framework of the Paris Agreement. Most countries have included agriculture and food systems in their Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs), particularly in reference to adaptation.

The international community must step up to help countries move to the next stage: that is, to identify specific adaptation strategies, finance opportunities, technology transfer and robust data collection. COP 22 in Marrakech next November will be an important opportunity to do so.

FAO stands ready to support its member countries to identify specific adaptation strategies, such as through the implementation of climate-smart agriculture techniques and practices, as well as through the 4 x 1000 initiative. We are also pleased with the progress being made in our joint work on the Agricultural Market Information System (AMIS) and the Tropical Agricultural Platform (TAP).

Last year, we launched together the G20 Technical Platform for the Measurement and Reduction of Food Loss and Waste. The Platform website has been online since December 2015 in the United Nations six official languages. I invite you to access it to verify the progress that has already been made.

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