The Arab region faces a number of structural challenges to food security and nutrition. These include high population growth rates, a limited natural resource base, especially with regard to land and water, the impact of climate change and the heavy reliance of international markets on food imports. The region also has a relatively high prevalence of undernourishment, caused by nutrient deficiencies and is relatively unique in the sense that obesity and the problems associated with it are on the increase.
Conflict, protracted crises and social instability aggravates food insecurity challenges in the region. As a result, although some of the countries took significant steps towards eradicating hunger and malnutrition, the region as a whole could not meet the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) target of halving the proportion of those who suffer from hunger or the World Food Summit (WFS) target of halving the number of those who are undernourished between 1990 and 2015.
The Working Group (WG) on Food Security and Nutrition is the successor of the Food Security Working Group and will take advantage of the opportunities for open consultation between Member States, the League of Arab States (particularly coordination with the LAS Arab Sustainable Development High Level Committee and the proposed SDG2 (End Hunger) subcommittee group) and UN Agencies to monitor developments in food security and nutrition in the region, identify countries for joint UN support, host a regional dialogue on food security and nutrition and to present an annual or biannual review of food security and nutrition issues representing a UN consensus view for the benefit of Member States.
The WG is a network of organizations with the objectives of advancing food security policy dialogue; sharing food security and nutritional information and analyses as well as information on interventions, initiatives and programs undertaken by different stakeholders.
Supporting documentation to the contributions made by the WG include the Regional Overview of Food Insecurity in NENA, CFS Regional Multi Stakeholder Forum , Safety-Nets Alert Platform (SNAP), and the Arab Spatial Food and Nutrition Security Analyzer. One of the main contributions of the WG will be supporting the adoption, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of the Sustainable Development Goals.