The UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) announced on Monday the launch of its 36th session of the Regional Conference for the Near East and North Africa (NERC 36) in Baghdad, Iraq.
The session will focus on improving nutrition, building resilient rural communities, improving water management, addressing the effects of the climate crisis, and promoting green recovery initiatives as well as gender-sensitive development strategies.
In an opening speech broadcasted online at the meeting, Director-General of the FAO Qu Dongyu said that the agri-food sectors are among the sectors struggling to recover from the shocks caused by the coronavirus pandemic during the past two years, stressing the importance of sustainable and resilient societies.
“The food security situation in the Near East and North Africa region was critical even before the pandemic, as the region suffers from high rates of hunger and increasing inequality that threatens the well-being of rural women and youths, in addition to exacerbating water scarcity,” he said.
He further identified the four priorities for innovation and best practices to support the region’s recovery, reducing the socio-economic gap between urban and rural areas by creating better employment opportunities in rural areas, ensuring food security and healthy diets for all, restoring environmental balances, and building resilience to multiple shocks.
Dongyu also stressed that “work at the country level is at the heart of the UN’s 2030 Agenda,” stressing the importance of partnerships and cooperation to achieve this plan.