|Seoul Mayor Park Won-soon, second from left, applauds at the opening ceremony of the new Food and Agriculture Organization branch office at Seoul Global Center in downtown Seoul, Monday, with Food Minister Lee Gae-ho, third from left, and FAO head Jose Graziano da Silva, fourth from left. / Yonhap|
By Lee Suh-yoon
The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) opened a new branch office in Seoul at Seoul Global Center, Monday.
"We welcome the establishment of an FAO branch communication office in Seoul, the most respected international organization in the agriculture, fishing and food sector," Mayor Park Won-soon said in a press statement. "We will continuously strengthen ties and pursue joint projects with the FAO to improve the basic right to food and quality of life not just for the people of Seoul but the world."
The branch office opened after six years of negotiation among Seoul City, the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs and the FAO. The office will act as the main communication channel between the U.N. agency and the Korean government, mediating joint projects like exporting Korea's food security model to other nations and possibly conduct projects in North Korea, a city official said.
The office will start operations in the latter half of this year, after the FAO appoints the branch office head and staff.
Through this regional office, the state and city government will partake in FAO programs on building sustainable food systems. The office will also act as a bridge between the Korean government and developing nations to transfer knowledge and technology.
Established in October 1945, the FAO works to improve food security and eradicate problems like hunger and malnutrition around the world. It is the 11th international organization to open an office at Seoul Global Center, which houses other U.N. agencies like the U.N. Human Rights Office of the High Commissioner and UNICEF.