Beirut-Amman, 2 December 2019-ESCWA held on 27 and 28 November a regional meeting on Promoting Food and Water Security in the Arab Region to discuss challenges and opportunities in that area and highlight the major achievements of the related regional initiative since its launch in 2015.
ESCWA organized the meeting in Amman with support from the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida) and in partnership with the Regional Office for the Near East and North Africa (RNE) of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the Arab Organization for Agriculture Development (AOAD) and the Arab Center for the Studies of Arid Zones and Dry Lands (ACSAD).
“Ensuring food security for the growing Arab population is a continuous challenge that requires that enough food is made available, accessible and utilized by all,” said Roula Majdalani, Director of the ESCWA Sustainable Development Policies Division, in her opening remarks. “The food system should become resilient to physical, financial, sociopolitical and natural shocks,” she added.
Several participants presented solutions and models from across the region to reduce the triple burden of obesity, malnutrition and anemia, which affect 115 million persons, 50 million persons and one third of Arab women, respectively. Solutions for food loss and waste were discussed, along with the role of technology and youth.
ESCWA has been implementing this initiative since 2015; and by the end of 2019, its main achievements had included diverse and rich knowledge outcomes to inform policymakers; enhanced technical capacity in climate change impact assessment for strategic agricultural crops; a common regional framework to monitor the status of food security; promotion of good agricultural practices at the national level; and improved coordination of policies and programmes across water and agricultural ministries through regional and national institutional mechanisms.
The opening session also featured interventions by the Director of the Environment, Housing, Water Resources and Sustainable Development Department at the League of Arab States, Djameldinne Djaballah; the Head of the Regional Development Cooperation at the Embassy of Sweden in Amman, Peter Lundberg; the Representative of the Ministry of Agriculture in Jordan, Izzat Al Ajaleen; the Representative of AOAD Executive Director, Ahmed Abdulwali Ali Al-Samawi; the Representative of ACSAD Director General, Ihab Jnad; and the FAO-RNE Deputy Regional Representative, Serge Naccouzi.
Participants included representatives of Arab States, senior staff from relevant regional and national organizations, and civil society organizations engaged in food and water related issues affecting Arab States.
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