The initiative for
an International Year of Rice (IYR) came in 1999, when the International Rice
Research Institute - responding to its members' growing concerns over the
serious issues facing rice development - requested FAO's collaboration in
having an IYR declared. This led to Resolution 2/2001 of the Thirty-First FAO
Conference, which requested the United Nations General Assembly to declare the
The theme of the IYR - "Rice is life"- reflected the importance of rice as a primary
food source, and was drawn from an understanding that rice-based systems are
essential for food security, poverty alleviation and improved livelihoods. Rice
is the staple food of over half of the world's population. In
There are about 840 million undernourished people, including more than 200 million children, in developing countries. Improving the productivity of rice systems would contribute to eradicating this unacceptable level of hunger. However, rice production is facing serious constraints, including declining yield growth rates, natural resource depletion, labour shortages, gender issues, institutional limitations and environmental pollution. Enhancing the sustainability and productivity of rice-based production systems, while protecting and conserving the environment, will require the commitment of many parts of civil society, as well as government and inter-governmental action.
Many countries attach great importance to sustainable rice development, and there are a growing number of global initiatives aimed at promoting it. These include the Agenda 21 chapter on Sustainable Agriculture and Rural Development (SARD) approved by 1992 Rio Summit; the 2002 World Conference on Sustainable Development; the 1996 Declaration on World Food Security and the World Food Summit Plan of Action; and the United Nations Millennium Declaration in 2000. Among the intergovernmental regulatory instruments that are of key importance for rice are those related to: food quality (CODEX Alimentarius); climate change; trade, and non-tariff trade barriers; biological diversity and the safe movement of modified living organisms; and ensuring equal access to and benefit sharing from plant genetic resources. Together with the IYR, these initiatives recognize that, in a world of increasingly interlinked institutions, societies and economies, it is essential that efforts are coordinated, responsibilities shared and participation included at all levels, from the local to the international.
The official website for the Year.
All the International Years proclaimed by the General Assembly.