Food systems assessment tool - United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia
14 September 2023

Beirut time

Expert Group Meeting

Food systems assessment tool

  • Online
Contact information

ESCWA and the Arab Organization for Agricultural Development are organizing an expert group meeting to assist countries in assessing the functioning of their national food systems with the aim of designing effective policies, strategies and programmes to respond to shortcomings in food security and nutrition.  

The meeting reviews and discusses key aspects of a food systems assessment tool. The proposed tool builds on the Arab food security monitoring framework, while taking into account the outcomes of the 2021 global Food Systems Summit and the expansion of food security dimensions to include “agency” and “sustainability”.

The meeting brings together officials from member States, experts from national and regional institutions, civil society and academia as well as staff members from partner United Nations agencies working in the Arab region.

Outcome document

The Virtual Expert Group Meeting on the Food Systems Assessment Tool recommended that:

  1. The new dimensions of food security, Agency, and Sustainability, integrated into the food systems assessment tool, be integrated into all projects related to Arab food security.
  2. Priorities for action should be on the availability of relevant data.
  3. Importance of ensuring sufficient financing availability to achieve progress in the field of food security.
  4. Conflict should be addressed as a key issue affecting food security in the region, and stakeholders should work to assess sustainable development in the context of conflict.
  5. Funding must be consolidated to ensure that effective support reaches those most in need.
  6. There is a direct relationship between the economy and food security, and although some countries do not have adequate agricultural land, they can achieve food security through their financial resources.

The meeting was opened with remarks from ESCWA and the Arab Organization for Agricultural Development (AOAD). Presentations were then made by ESCWA on key achievements since the Food Systems Summit and the path forward and then by a consultant who overviewed a report on food systems assessment, which details a typology to identify the food systems existing in the Arab region together with a case-study for Egypt.

  1. Improving Arab food security and nutrition through a transformation of food systems underpinned by a better understanding of how Arab food systems work.
  2. Environmental outcomes should be an important goal and must be included in decision-making together with an increased attention to the economic and social outcomes.
  3. Local production should be enhanced to better support food security and financing should be emphasized to ensure a positive impact.
  1. The meeting allowed the exchange of views on Arab Food Systems and presented a regional assessment tool adapted for food systems.
  2. An overview of what has been accomplished towards Arab food systems transformation was provided notably since the summit of 2021 as well as a review of what is in the pipeline.
  3. An assessment tool suited for the Arab region was overviewed, which included a typology to classify the food systems present in the region together with a case study for Egypt.
  4. The discussions revolved around the importance to emphasize on local production, the needs for more research, data and information including on land and soil suitability, the importance of the legal framework and the need to generate local data to rely less on internationally generated ones.
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