FAO office in Tirana inaugurated – first in the Balkans

FAO’s newly established office in Albania was inaugurated today, in the presence of Minister of Agriculture Edmond Panariti and FAO Director-General Jose Graziano da Silva. The office – FAO’s first on the Balkans – will coordinate FAO projects in national priority areas such as support to farmers, climate change and natural resource conservation, , statistics, veterinary reform and food safety.

FAO’s newly established office in Albania was inaugurated today, in the presence of Minister of Agriculture Edmond Panariti and FAO Director-General Jose Graziano da Silva. The office – FAO’s first on the Balkans – will coordinate FAO projects in national priority areas such as support to farmers, climate change and natural resource conservation, , statistics, veterinary reform and food safety.

During his two-day visit to Albania, Graziano da Silva held talks with Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama, and Minister of Foreign Affairs Ditmir Bushati. In his meetings, the Director-General underscored FAO’s commitment to supporting the country’s reform of the agricultural and rural development sector to ensure alignment with EU standards. Albania became an EU candidate country in 2014.

“At the regional level, the Balkans remains an important region for FAO in terms of contributing to global food security,” Graziano said, “and within the Balkans Albania is an important country for FAO. Environmental challenges are becoming more evident, such as the recent floods, and FAO stands ready to contribute to climate change mitigation and adaptation strategies.”

Graziano also highlighted FAO’s focus on communication with parliamentarians in its member countries – to raise awareness of FAO’s mandate and contribution to global public goods, and to stimulate engagement in the new Sustainable Development Goals.

Yesterday at the Agricultural University of Tirana, the Director-General of FAO was awarded the honorary Dr. Honoris Causa degree for his “continuous assistance to the development of Albanian agriculture and the opening of FAO office in Albania”. In his statement, Director-General highlighted FAO’s sharpened focus on strengthening engagement with the academic sector and encouraged the University to continuously provide expert support to FAO ongoing projects.

10 December 2015, Tirana, Albania