Youssef Balla, Morocco’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations agencies in Rome, co-chaired the seventh annual joint meeting of the FAO Council, the Executive Board of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), and the Executive Board of the World Food Programme (WFP) on Friday at the FAO headquarters.

This joint meeting, established in 2017 at the behest of member agencies based in Rome, serves as a coordination platform to discuss strategic issues related to global food security.

This year’s discussions focused on implementing the Memorandum of Understanding signed in 2023 among the three agencies, aimed at enhancing the effectiveness and efficiency of their contributions to food security and nutrition, particularly in achieving Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 2. The case study for this topic was dedicated to the Joint Program for the Sahel.

Other points of discussion included a joint operational update on humanitarian aid in Gaza, Haiti, and Sudan, and international cooperation efforts to follow up on the United Nations Food Systems Summit +2 and the contributions of the three UN agencies to other global processes.

Speaking as the Chairman of the WFP Executive Board, Mr. Balla emphasized the importance of collaboration among the Rome-based agencies to combat rising hunger levels worldwide, exacerbated by conflicts, climate shocks, and multidimensional crises.

He highlighted that joint efforts are crucial for delivering effective humanitarian aid in severely affected regions such as Gaza, Haiti, and Sudan.

The ambassador also stressed the importance of diplomatic solutions to support mediations aimed at conflict resolution, calling for smooth and sustainable humanitarian access to deliver food aid to hard-to-reach areas.

Furthermore, Mr. Balla underscored the successes of initiatives like the School Meals Coalition, which has mobilized significant funding to feed millions of additional children. He urged strengthened international cooperation to tackle the challenges of combating hunger.

The session, which saw participation from UN Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed, FAO Director-General Qu Dongyu, and WFP Executive Director Cindy McCain, saw the diplomat urging the three agencies to contribute to the upcoming High-Level Political Forum and the Summit of the Future in New York, as well as the forthcoming Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.