Italy gives €10 million for farm development
The new donation, raising Italy's voluntary, extra-budgetary contributions to a total of some €60 million, confirms the country as one of FAO's leading donors.
"We warmly thank the Italian Government for this new contribution at a time when the ongoing economic and financial crisis risks reducing the level of development assistance," said Assistant Director-General José María Sumpsi, who heads FAO's Department of Technical Cooperation.
"We are glad to be able to direct part of Italy's development assistance funding towards FAO's agricultural and rural development programmes. We share the Organization's objectives of combating hunger and poverty for sustainable development," said Pietro Sebastiani, Italy's Ambassador to the United Nations agencies in Rome.
Italy has said it intends food security and in particular hunger in Africa to be a central focus of the G8 in 2009, when it hold the Group's rotating presidency.
FAO/Italy against food insecurity
Of the €100 million pledged by Italy in 2002 during the World Food Summit: five years later, €87 million have already been paid up, including €14 million following last June's High-Level Conference on World Food Security.
The funds were paid into FAO's Food Security Trust Fund, helping implement 29 national projects in 41 countries as well as regional projects in 15 Caribbean Community countries and in 15 Pacific Small Island Developing States.
In 2008, the Italian Government approved some €4 million in support of FAO activities in crucial sectors such as biodiversity and environmental protection as well as of development initiatives in North Korea and Laos. All activities focus on achieving food security.
Italy's voluntary contributions to FAO's emergency programme have also helped finance projects in particularly vulnerable, food-insecure regions such as the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, Eritrea, Djibouti, Uganda, Myanmar and North Korea, among others.