|Note for the Press No 13
1 June 1999
WHO TO FORGE CLOSER TIES WITH FAO, IFAD, WFP
In a two-day visit to Rome, Italy, Thursday June 3rd and Friday June 4th, World Health Organization Director-General, Dr Gro Harlem Brundtland, will meet her counterparts at UN's three main agencies for food and agriculture to discuss expanded and closer co-operation.
"The United Nations is perceived as one large organization by most people in the world. We who lead the specialized agencies should take that as an inspiration," said Dr Brundtland. "I am going to Rome as part of an effort to co-ordinate, streamline and strengthen the work with our sister organizations."
Dr Brundtland will meet Food and Agricultural Organization's Director-General, Mr Jacques Diouf and its senior management. WHO and FAO currently work together on issues such as nutrition and reduction of poverty, as well as on food standards, food safety and the safe use of chemicals in agriculture.
At the International Fund for Agricultural Development, Dr Brundtland will meet with its president, Mr Fawzi Hamad Al-Sultan to discuss a closer WHO involvement to support FAO's, IFAD's and WFP's recent joint initiative to fight hunger and poverty.
Dr Brundtland will meet with the Executive Director of World Food Programme, Mrs Catherine Bertini, to discuss ways to strengthen cooperation between the two agencies in their work to improve nutrition and health levels among the poorest populations and in emergency situations.
"To bring the benefits of this century's health revolution to the world's one billion poorest people is a priority for WHO," Dr Brundtland said. "Food safety, good nutrition and improved agricultural output are crucial to this task. All the three UN agencies I will visit share the same goal when it comes to reducing poverty, but we need to co-ordinate our activities to make them more effective."
Dr Brundtland will also share her experience of WHO's recent structural reform with the heads of the three agencies.
"We have just been through a restructuring at WHO," Dr Brundtland said. "We have valuable experiences we would like to share with other UN agencies. And we have things to learn. The UN system is doing a good job, but we need to constantly improve our efforts in order to earn our respect among the people of the world."
While in Rome, Dr Brudtland will also hold talks with Italian Health Minister, Mrs Rosy Bindi and Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Senator Rino Serri.
For further information, journalists can contact Press Officer Jon Lidén, WHO, Geneva. Telephone (41 22) 791 3982 Fax (41 22) 791 4858 E-mail:firstname.lastname@example.org
All WHO Press Releases, Fact Sheets and Features as well as other information on this subject can be obtained on Internet on the WHO home page http://www.who.int/