Beirut, 6 June 2023--Ensuring food security is one of the main means for achieving equality. In the Arab region, millions of people are still living in a vicious cycle of poverty and hunger. To support the development of sustainable strategies aimed at overcoming these dire challenges, the 2nd edition of the Arab Forum for Equality at the UN House in Beirut, with the participation of Arab ministers and senior officials, representatives of UN agencies operating in the region and other regional organizations, civil society networks, and international think tanks.
Themed “One voice… Equality in food security”, the 2-day forum is organized by the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA), in partnership with Pathfinders for Peaceful, Just and Inclusive Societies hosted by the Center on International Cooperation at New York University, the Islamic Solidarity Fund for Development (ISFD), Oxfam, the World Food Programme (WFP), and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO).
“Food inequality is one of the reasons for the loss of hope in our region. We are all accountable for the current situation, and our duty is to act together to reduce inequality by implementing radical economic, social and environmental reforms, fighting corruption, and setting good governance processes”, said ESCWA Executive Secretary Rola Dashti in her opening remarks. “Arab countries should revisit their agricultural, production and commercial policies, and increase investments in land and water productivity”, she added.
The inauguration was followed by a special session on updates on “Josour” with Lebanese Superstar Elissa, the public figure advocating this initiative launched last year to create more job opportunities for young men and women, and increase their employability.
Elissa highlighted that more and more young men and women were considering emigrating due to the dire economic situation. "You cannot give up. Learn and develop your skills. I call on private sector entities in all Arab countries that have not yet been involved in this initiative, to reach out to ESCWA so they can contribute to sustainable development in our region,” she added.
Discussions will build on the findings of a joint flagship report issued by ESCWA, WFP and Pathfinders titled “Inequality in the Arab Region: Food Insecurity Fuels Inequality”, which analyses inequality in food security and provides policy recommendations for addressing it.
In addition, the Forum will include a special session on desertification titled: “Her land, her rights”, where the winners of the “Food security and inequality in the Arab region” challenge. It will also feature an exhibition for students’ submissions to the “My healthy lunch” challenge.
One of five United Nations regional commissions, ESCWA supports inclusive and sustainable economic and social development in Arab States, and works on enhancing regional integration.
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