ASTANA, KAZAKHSTAN — The United Nation’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Director-General José Graziano da Silva and Kazakhstan's Minister of Agriculture Assylzhan Mamytbekov on May 23 signed an agreement establishing an FAO Partnership and Liaison Office in the country.

FAO's new partnership with Kazakhstan will facilitate international cooperation efforts, bringing FAO and the government together to support of national development goals and priorities as well as assist other countries in the region.

The new office will promote cooperation with donors and financial institutions, scientific circles, multilateral agencies and other key partners, particularly with the Islamic Organization for Food Security being established in Kazakhstan under the aegis of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation.

In his address at the signing ceremony, Graziano da Silva highlighted that the establishment of a Partnership and Liaison Office in Kazakhstan will strengthen FAO's partnership with Kazakhstan and open up new opportunities for cooperation in pursuit of common goals.

Graziano da Silva met the president of Kazakhstan, Nursultan Nazarbayev, during the VIII Astana Economic Forum. Nazarbayev underscored the importance of addressing food insecurity, being among the three global challenges. Graziano da Silva congratulated the president for achieving the first three Millennium Development Goals and praised Kazakhstan for maintaining since 1990 the total number and proportion of undernourished people at under 5% of the population.

During the mission to Astana, Graziano da Silva visited Astana's Agrarian and Technological University and gave a lecture on global food security challenges. He encouraged students to help contribute to the fight against hunger through agricultural research  and development.

The director-general was awarded with the academic rank of honorable professor.

FAO has been working in Kazakhstan since 1997, focusing on sustainable natural resource management, food safety and organic food production, animal health and livestock production.