President receives the United Nations Agricola Medal from Dr. QU Dongyu, Director General of the FAO

Fri 7th Jun, 2024 | 14:30
location: Áras an Uachtaráin
President receives the United Nations Agricola Medal from Dr. QU Dongyu, Director General of the FAO

President Higgins has been chosen by the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) to be the recipient of the organisation’s Agricola Medal.

The medal, which bears the Latin name for farmer, is conferred upon international figures who have undertaken outstanding efforts in advancing the cause of global food security, poverty alleviation and nutrition.

President Higgins,the first Irish recipient of the medal, received the award from the Director-General of the FAO, Dr Qu Dongyu at a reception in Áras an Uachtaráin.

It is customary that the recipient of the medal provides their own choice of inscription text for the medal. President Higgins has asked for the inscription to read ‘Food Security as part of Universal Basic Services and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals – the seeds of world peace’.

The vital need for food security, and the importance of moving past reactive emergency responses to tackling the underlying structural causes of hunger, has been a key theme of the President’s work.

The President has consistently raised the importance of food security, and the links between it and the interlocking global crises of global poverty, migration, debt and climate change in his meetings with global leaders in recent years. This included at his recent meetings with US President Joe Biden, His Holiness Pope Francis, and the Premier of the People’s Republic of China Li Qiang. It is also a topic which the President has repeatedly raised at the annual meetings of the Arraiolos Group of non-executive European Presidents.

In October 2023, President Higgins delivered two addresses on the topic of food security at the World Food Forum, hosted at the FAO’s headquarters in Rome, one at the Forum’s opening session as well as the keynote address the Forum’s closing session. The President’s addresses in Rome built on a further two addresses which he delivered at the second Dakar Summit on food sovereignty and resilience in Senegal in January 2023.

The President has also written extensively on the topic in recent years, including reflecting on the repeated crises which have arisen since he first travelled to Somalia and saw first-hand the devastation of the famine in that country in 1992.