Country envoys visit Albania and Serbia for a first-hand view of FAO’s work

FAO Permanent Representatives of Australia, Chile, Kuwait, Japan, Libya, Russian Federation, USA, and the European Union are on a field visit to of Albania and Serbia this week. By visiting FAO project sites and talking with farmers, national officials, FAO partners, other UN agencies and FAO teams on the ground, the officials aim to enhance their understanding of country conditions and FAO technical and policy assistance.

FAO Assistant Representative Arben Kipi talks with Permanent Representatives on their field visit to Albania.

FAO Permanent Representatives of Australia, Chile, Kuwait, Japan, Libya, Russian Federation, USA, and the European Union are on a field visit to of Albania and Serbia this week. By visiting FAO project sites and talking with farmers, national officials, FAO partners, other UN agencies and FAO teams on the ground, the officials aim to enhance their understanding of country conditions and FAO technical and policy assistance. 

Country visits are organized periodically for small groups of FAO Permanent Representatives – officials who represent their countries at FAO headquarters in Rome, participating in technical committees and higher-level governing body sessions. This week’s visit to Albania and Serbia is the first to the Europe and Central Asia region of the world since 2014. 

“Visiting countries such as Serbia and Albania, where FAO has either no representation or multi-accrediation, will give the Perm Reps an understanding of the impact of our work in these countries with a limited FAO presence,” said Raimund Jehle, Deputy Regional Representative for Europe and Central Asia and FAO Representative for Albania. 

The group will meet with a farmer group and local officials in southern Albania to discuss disaster risk management and reduction. They will also tour a plant genetic bank in Tirana that is part of the country’s effort to preserve local biodiversity. A fruit and vegetable retail market will round out this leg of the trip. 

Crop and livestock farmers in scores of municipalities suffered serious losses from unprecedented heavy rains and flooding in spring 2014. FAO’s emergency flood response and recovery work – much of it financed by the European Union – will be a focus of the envoys’ visit to Serbia. The group will visit Sabac, one of the affected municipalities where about 2,000 farm families were assisted with seeds, fertilizer, fruit tree seedlings, and greenhouse installation. They will also meet with beneficiary families, local officials and media in Bogatic, a municipality that served as a distribution point for seeds and fertilizer. A produce market in Sabac is also part of the group’s itinerary in Serbia. 

Participants in the field visit include: Rosemary Navarrete, Advisor on Agriculture for Australia; Osamu Kubota, Deputy Permanent Representative and Minister Counsellor for Japan; Manar Sabah Al Sabah, Alternate Permanent Representative for Kuwait; Salem A.M. Haroun, Agricultural Counsellor / Alternate Permanent Representative for Libya; Kirill Antyukhin, Second Secretary and Agricultural Attache for Russian Federation; Robert A. Mearkle, Alternate Permanent Representative for the United States of America; Luis Fernando Ayala Gonzalez, Ambassador and Permanent Representative for Chile and representative of GRULAC; and Ana Fraile Vasallo, Advisor with the European Union. 

14 March 2016, Tirana, Albania