Arab Food Security: Vulnerabilities and Pathways - United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia


Arab Food Security: Vulnerabilities and Pathways

ESCWA Publication: E/ESCWA/CL1.CCS/2020/1

Country: Arab region

Publication Type: Flagship publications

Cluster: Climate Change and Natural Resource Sustainability

Focus Area: Natural resource sustainability

Initiatives: Promoting food and water security

SDGs: Agenda 2030, Goal 2: Zero Hunger

Keywords: Food, Food security, Covid-19, Malnutrition, Obesity, Natural resources, Food imports, Conflict, Macroeconomics, Governance, Food industry, Private sector, Technological innovations, Arab countries

Arab Food Security: Vulnerabilities and Pathways

September 2022

As the COVID-19 pandemic swept through the world, food security vulnerabilities further weakened the Arab region’s ability to respond. Prior to the pandemic, up to 27 per cent of the regional population (116 million people) experienced food insecurity. Undernourishment and adult obesity were rampant, affecting 10 and 26 per cent of the population, respectively. The present report analyses the disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic regarding food availability, unequal access and deficient utilization, including changes in consumer behaviours. It also puts in context rising vulnerabilities in terms of natural resource scarcity, socioeconomic shocks, food import dependency and the increasing impact of conflict.

The report highlights that food supply will remain a challenge. Addressing food security in the region will require vision and governance mechanisms that enhance the agility, robustness and functioning of food systems. Governments need to address existing macroeconomic difficulties, while responding to rising natural resource constraints through technological innovations, regional collaboration and partnerships, support to the private sector and the development of a sustainable and inclusive regional food industry.

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