Mario Arvelo in the Committee on Agriculture

Dominican President Danilo Medina, the Director-General of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) José Graziano da Silva and UN Committee on Agriculture Chair Mario Arvelo share the podium during the opening ceremony of the 24th annual session of the committee, on 29 September 2014. [©FAO/Giulio Napolitano]

In May 2012, the member States elected Mario Arvelo as Chair of the United Nations Committee on Agriculture (COAG), based at the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). COAG is a key body for debating and deciding on national, regional, and global strategies for the production of food in sustainable manners. During his tenure at the committee’s helm, Arvelo managed to oversee the creation of the Global Soils Partnership (of which he was one of the founders and its first Chair); a new International Code of Conduct for pesticides management (whose negotiations he led and which he later submitted to the World Health Organization, where it was duly approved); the insertion of family farming in the FAO Strategic Framework and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development; a new focus on intensifying sustainable production and sustainable food systems (which would become the complementary aspect of the Zero Hunger objective of Sustainable Development Goal #2); the opening of new sources of financing to improve food safety on a global scale with proper scientific advice; a new strategy for water governance and management within national and global policies; a Global Program for Sustainable Livestock (including antibiotic resistance); the Global Program for the Eradication of the peste des petits ruminants (“sheep and goat plague”); the relaunch of technical support to member States for improving national capacities in the collection, compilation, management, and dissemination of agricultural statistics; the recognition of the Globally Important Agricultural Heritage Systems (GIAHS) as a fundamental tool for safeguarding cultural traditions and biological diversity; and a package of institutional reforms for enhancing the committee’s transparency and democratic legitimacy.

Arvelo emphasized the structural needs of farmers in developing countries, with a worldwide call for Ministers of Agriculture to pay special attention to the design of policies that allow expanding agri-food production in a sustainable manner for both local consumption and exports, increasing the supply of higher-quality rural employment, protecting biodiversity, reforesting water basins, fully integrating women and youth into all links of the production process, combating animal and plant diseases, strengthening food safety, expanding partnerships and cooperatives, accessing markets in developed countries, and addressing the threats of climate change, while moving toward eradicating hunger and malnutrition.

Mario Arvelo participates as a panelist in a debate of global experts on the challenges of deforestation and sustainable agriculture in the framework of the 26th session of the United Nations Committee on Agriculture (COAG), in October 2018. On that occasion, the former COAG Chair expressed that the destruction of forest resources —deforestation— constitutes an artificial disaster: the disappearance of vegetation means decline, disorder, conflict, migration, poverty, and hunger, and the first to literally bite the dust are, as always, the most vulnerable. [©FAO / Giuseppe Carotenuto]

Other links to Mario Arvelo’s work in the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO)


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