Moscow — The State Duma has ratified the Charter of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) with 414 votes. No one abstained or voted against.
The Soviet Union was a FAO co-founder at the Ottawa Conference in October 1945, however, Moscow did not join the organization for 60 years because the FAO membership implied submission of agricultural statistics, which was classified in the USSR.
Russian Agriculture Minister Alexei Gordeyev thinks that the accession to the FAO will enable Russia to integrate into the international agro-industrial system and become a fully-fledged participant of global processes in the solution of the food problem. Main goals of the FAO are better nutrition and living standards. It also promotes the efficiency of production, processing and distribution of food and products of agriculture, timber and fishery industries, the development of the countryside, better living standards of villagers, and measures against hunger and malnutrition.
The FAO provides for the safety of food and cattle fodder produced with the use of biotechnologies, and plays a leading role in the containment of epidemics that damage cattle products. More than 1,800 projects are being implemented under the FAO aegis.
The organization based in Rome has 187 members. Membership fees make up most of the financing. The FAO budget for 2004-2005 nears $750 million.
Fully-fledged membership in the FAO will help Russia to form a CIS group and promote national interests, Prime Tass said.
Notably, a decision on the Russian accession to the FAO had been repeatedly delayed until the financial and economic stabilization in Russia. A serious argument was the large membership fee. According to a new scale approved at a FAO conference, Russia’s fee will amount to $911,000 and about 818,000 euros per year.
As a FAO member, Russia will have a free access to international information resources on agriculture, timber and fishery industries and countrysideecology.