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First SDG Seminar Spotlights Initiatives and Outlook for FAO


The first Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) seminar was held on June 8, 2017, focusing on the activities of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). Mbuli Charles Boliko, director of the FAO Liaison Office in Japan, reported on FAO’s initiatives and outlook at this very successful gathering, whose 55 attendees included faculty staffers.

Speaker Mbuli Charles Boliko

The three subjects of Mr. Boliko’s presentation were a profile of the FAO, the global food situation, and job opportunities with the FAO.

In profiling FAO, Mr. Boliko noted that it is one of three institutions focusing on food issues, the other two being the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the World Food Programme (WFP). He said that FAO specializes in initiatives to foster independent food production. He explained that the organization was founded in Rome on October 16, 1945, and that it runs more than 2,500 projects in more than 130 countries. These initiatives are in keeping with the second SDG: Zero Hunger. Efforts include improving nutritional health, helping people to become more resilient and depend less on assistance, and managing and using natural resources sustainably. Mr. Boliko said that the four key elements of food security are availability, accessibility, utilization, and stability. He emphasized the importance of pursuing all these elements in lockstep and applying them at individual rather than national levels. In other words, he said, the goal is to ensure that everyone is properly fed; Leaving no one behind.

The seminar was heavily attended

On the second subject of his presentation, the global food situation, Mr. Boliko said that while the world has enough food for everybody, around 795 million people, or one person in nine, cannot access nutritious food. About 511.7 million individuals, or two-thirds of those with substandard food access, are in Asia. Although the total number is admittedly lower than for Asia, malnutrition affects one-quarter of Africans, a very high proportion. Mr. Boliko highlighted the issue of food waste and FAO’s efforts in that regard, noting the side effect of increased greenhouse gas emissions from discarding food. He suggested that people buy only what they need and prepare meat, vegetables, and other ingredients so virtually nothing goes to waste.

Mr. Boliko answered numerous questions
from attendees

Mr. Boliko turned to his third subject, of job opportunities with FAO. He said that candidates could reach the organization’s academic, language, and work experience requirements if they put their minds to it. He cited his own experience as an exchange student at Nagoya University. He started out monolingual in French but was encouraged to study daily in graduate school to attain the mandated competence in English and Japanese. He impressed participants by demonstrating through his message that effort makes anything possible.

The seminar closed with a lively Q&A session. Participants found the gathering very worthwhile in terms of learning about the global food situation and FAO’s activities and for obtaining information about building careers with United Nations organizations. Mr. Boliko inspired attendees with a passionate message that was replete with his experiences.

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