The city of Voronezh, in southern Russia, will be the venue for the next FAO Regional Conference for Europe, in May 2018. Preparations were kicked off with a recent visit to Voronezh by Vladimir Rakhmanin, FAO Assistant Director-General and Regional Representative for Europe and Central Asia.

Rakhmanin held preliminary talks with Alexey Gordeyev, Governor of Voronezh Oblast (Region), and other officials in the south Russian city, an important agricultural and urban center with more than one million inhabitants.

“One of the motives for choosing the city of Voronezh as the conference venue was to highlight the contribution that this region has made and continues to make to global food security and the development of rural areas,” Rakhmanin said at a press conference at the local House of Journalists.

Rakhmanin briefed the media on the key topics that will dominate the agenda of the 31st Regional Conference for Europe: climate change and its impact on agriculture. He underlined that FAO regional conferences are in no way mere “bureaucratic events,” as they generate practical recommendations for FAO’s future work in the region.

In recognition of the support by Voronezh Oblast to the activities of FAO, Rakhmanin presented an FAO commemorative medal to Governor Gordeyev. The limited-edition medal was produced on the occasion of the Organization’s 70th anniversary in 2015. The Soviet Union was among the founding members of FAO in 1945, but for many years the country abstained from participating in its activities. Russia joined FAO in 2006, when Gordeyev served as Russian Minister of Agriculture, facilitating the process.

The ceremony prompted Gordeyev to recall the moment in 2006 when he “hoisted the flag of the Russian Federation” alongside the other national flags at FAO headquarters in Rome.

On the sidelines of the recent FAO global Conference in Rome, Russian Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs Gennady Gatilov met with FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva. Graziano expressed his gratitude to the Russian Federation for its offer to host the 2018 Regional Conference for Europe. The event will “further strengthen the spirit of increased collaboration between FAO and Russia,” Graziano said.

About FAO Regional Conferences
Regional Conferences are held once every two years, in years when the global FAO Conference does not meet in regular session. Participants debate challenges related to food and agriculture – thus promoting regional coherence – and identify priorities for the future work.

Attendance is by Ministers of Agriculture or other high-level representatives of the FAO’s 53 Member Countries and one Member Organization (the European Union) in the Europe and Central Asia region. Nongovernmental and intergovernmental organizations may be invited to attend as Observers.

The 30th session of the FAO Regional Conference for Europe was held in May 2016 in Antalya, Turkey.

20 July 2017, Voronezh, Russian Federation

Pictured (from left to right): FAO Assistant Director-General and Regional Representative for Europe and Central Asia Vladimir Rakhmanin, Director of FAO Liaison Office with Russian Federation Eugenia Serova, Governor of Voronezh Region Alexey Gordeyev, Vice-Governor Elena Fadeyeva, Vice-Governor and Minister of Agriculture Victor Logvinov, and Minister of Economic Development (Voronezh Region) Anatoly Bukreyev.