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FAO marks 40 years of representation in Sri Lanka

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FAO Representative to Sri Lanka and the Maldives, Xuebing Sun speaking at the event held in Colombo.

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) reinforced its commitment to partner with the Government of Sri Lanka and stakeholders towards realizing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Marking 40 years of its Representation in Sri Lanka, FAO underscored how food and agriculture lies at the very heart of sustainable development, from nourishing people to responding to climate change and managing natural resources. 

Addressing FAO’s 40th Anniversary event in Colombo, FAO Representative to Sri Lanka and the Maldives, Xuebing Sun stated, “In Sri Lanka, the population is expected to grow by 2.4 million people by 2050. We must therefore plan how we are going to feed a growing population, raising its nutrition levels and doing so, moreover, in a responsible way which means promoting the conservation and sustainable use of natural resources and sustaining territorial and marine ecosystems services functions. We must also decide which measures we must adopt to combat climate change, considering its effects on agriculture. We should fully realize the need and the importance of modernizing and promoting agricultural sector through innovations, including digitalisation of agriculture and the use of digital platforms to assist farmers and producers."

He added that nourishing people goes hand-in-hand with nurturing the planet. “Bringing nutritious, safe and sustainably produced food to everyone’s table is possible. This can be done through effective collaboration with the government, diplomatic corps, civil society, private sector, academia, research centres, cooperatives, and South-South and Triangular Cooperation mechanism and making use of each other’s knowledge and comparative advantages,” he further stated.

 Mr.  W. M. W. Weerakoon Director General of Agriculture speaking at the event held in Colombo

United Nations Resident Coordinator in Sri Lanka, Hanaa Singer noted that the FAO ‘s work in the country contributed to the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda and addressed the interconnected nature of the Sustainable Development Goals. Singer stated, “By promoting and supporting sustainable food and agriculture practices, the FAO works towards addressing hunger, nourishing people and nurturing the planet.  We must think carefully about how we grow, share and consume our food. If done right, agriculture, forestry and fisheries can provide nutritious food for all and generate decent incomes, while supporting people-centered rural development and protecting the environment. I am encouraged by Sri Lanka’s commitment to combat food insecurity and malnutrition and hope to see this reflected in policies, investments and legislation.”

Director General of Agriculture Dr W.M.W Weerakoon thanked FAO for the support and friendship extended to the government for over 40 years to develop the agriculture, livestock, fisheries, and forestry sectors. 

He stated, “The longstanding partnership between FAO and Sri Lanka have yielded positive and lasting results. The country is now focusing on digitization and mechanisation to make the agriculture sector more efficient and productive. Therefore, FAO’s continued technical expertise and resources are invaluable to achieve these national priorities.” 

United Nations Resident Coordinator in Sri Lanka, Hanaa Singer speaking at the event held in Colombo

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