A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for the distribution of information related to hunger was signed here on Wednesday between Xinhua and the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).
The partnership represents a very important step to improve global access to information on hunger and food-related issues, particularly in Chinese, FAO Director-General Jose Graziano da Silva said at a signing ceremony marking the new agreement at FAO headquarters in the Italian capital.
The MOU will allow Xinhua and FAO to work together to foster production and distribution of accurate, updated and useful information related to hunger and malnutrition, and to other issues on FAO's agenda.
As part of the agreement, Xinhua will expand its coverage on hunger, nutrition and the challenges food producers and consumers are facing. These include issues such as land use, food security, food safety, malnutrition, and food waste.
FAO, in turn, will make its knowledge and data resources available to journalists. Both agencies will also explore opportunities to hold joint events, such as conferences and workshops, focusing on the role of media in the fight against hunger.
"This is one of the most important media partnerships for FAO," Graziano da Silva said. He added that the agreement with Xinhua is part of a larger effort to generate exposure for food security issues in all six of FAO's official languages, including English, Spanish, French, Arabic, Russian and Chinese.
"We are using the same approach for the news. We want the same presence in all the languages," da Silva explained. In fact, he underlined, the media play a critical role in showing people that changing the lives of those who suffer from chronic hunger and malnutrition is possible and can be done in a lifetime.
Silva recognized the critical role of media in communicating FAO's areas of work to a wide audience and the unique position of Xinhua to reach out to millions of people. "Putting information within reach at a global level is essential to supporting the eradication of hunger and malnutrition, and in that sense, Xinhua is a very valuable partner to help achieve these objective," the FAO Director-General said.
Long Xinnan, Vice President of Xinhua News Agency, said he very much appreciated the untiring efforts made by FAO in promoting global food security, agricultural international cooperation and global poverty reduction.
"Xinhua has always had very good exchanges and cooperation with the UN headquarters and agencies," Long noted. He recalled that in May this year, Xinhua President Cai Mingzhao met with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon at the UN headquarters in New York City.
Ban said on that occasion that he fully supported the cooperation between Xinhua and the UN, and hoped that the UN could work with Xinhua to spread the message of peace and development to the whole world.
Long said Xinhua has a worldwide news coverage and network, and also maintains very good cooperation with mainstream media across the world, which is complementary to the fundamental work of consciousness-raising carried out by FAO.
He wished the new agreement will further deepen cooperation between Xinhua and FAO, which share the view that trusted news and information is a key tool in the fight against hunger and poverty.