25 July 2014 – Philippine Ambassador to Italy Virgilio A. Reyes, Jr. led one of the panel discussions at the Conference on “Achieving a Transformative Post-2015 Development Agenda: The Contribution of the Rule of Law to Equity and Sustainability” held on July 21 at the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Headquarters in Rome.
The Conference was convened by the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in the context of Italy’s Presidency of the Council of the European Union, and the International Development Law Organization (IDLO).
Philippine Ambassador Reyes, as lead discussant of the Panel Discussion on Achieving Food and Nutrition Security: Ensuring Sustainability through the Rule of Law, highlighted the importance of the topic as the world approaches 2015, the deadline for achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
The Conference underscored that food and nutrition security and poverty reduction cannot be achieved unless issues of access to land, security of tenure and sustainable use of natural resources are addressed properly.
Cognizant of the nexus between achieving food and nutrition security and the rule of law, Philippine Ambassador Reyes quoted former Philippine President Ramon Magsaysay that those who have less in life, must have more in law. He emphasized that globalization has adversely affected the realities in the agricultural areas. The average age of farmers in the Philippines is 57 years old and the next generation of farmers is moving to the urban areas. There is a need to create an incentive system where agricultural production will remain attractive to the next generation particularly the youth.
He shared the Philippines’ initiatives in the promotion of the role of family farming in providing food security. At the instance of the Philippines, the 66th Session of the UN General Assembly in December 2011 declared 2014 as International Year of Family Farming (IYFF). The IYFF celebration aims to raise the profile of family farming and small holder farming by focusing world attention on its important role in alleviating hunger and poverty, providing food security and nutrition, improving livelihoods, managing natural resources, protecting the environment, and allowing sustainable development, particularly in rural areas.
Family farms constitute a majority of the farming system in the Philippines and form the basis of food and agricultural production and employment that greatly influence the economic, socio-cultural and environmental activities of the Filipinos.
To signify its commitment to family farming, the Philippines will be hosting the Closing Ceremonies of IYFF in November 2014. END