At the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) this week tribute was paid to the power of co-operatives in fighting poverty and world hunger. Marcela Villarreal – Director of the Food and Agriculture Organisation, Office for Communication, Partnerships and Advocacy (pictured) told diplomats gathered for high level meetings for the week that the UN International Year of Co-operatives (IYC) had “underscored the fabulous work that co-operatives do. Our Director-General Graziano da Silva strongly supports co-operatives and recognizes them as a partner in our work.” She then mentioned that the FAO during IYC had participated in 150 events and also praised the International Co-operative Alliance (ICA) by name. Villarreal noted that “we are increasing the role of co-operatives here at FAO” and described the fact that ICA and WFO (World Farmers’ Organisation) now share an office at FAO HQ in Rome and ICA will soon be signing a memo of understanding to facilitate joint projects with FAO. She also touched upon the importance of the Global Development Co-operative (GDC) as part of the legacy of the International Year. Finally she said FAO believed the way forward was to look towards a full decade supporting co-operatives.
There were also strong support for coops in FAO statements during the week from Norway, Jordan and Brazilian leaders.