SE127 Informed Decision Making on Arab food security within the context of climate change: Monitoring food security in the Arab region and the development and application of region-specific climate datasets, models to assess food security at regional and national levels

Organizers

  • United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (UN-ESCWA)
  • FAO
  • Arab Organization for Agricultural Development (AOAD)
  • Arab Center for the Studies of Arid Zones and Dry Lands (ACSAD)

ESCWA is implementing an initiative on promoting food and water security in the Arab region in cooperation with FAO, ACSAD and AOAD and with support from SIDA. This initiative aims to highlight the benefits of enhanced technical capacity and resilience to climate change that in turn contributes to anchoring the science-policy-interface approach within national and regional policy development.

The formulation, adoption and establishment of a region-specific monitoring system on food security is used as a tool to identify areas of policy intervention across the four dimensions of food security. Pursuing these four dimensions in a focused and integrated manner necessitated the adoption of a unified clear set of indicators to better monitor and inform decision-making in addition to promoting the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

To provide a clear picture to policy makers on the impact level of climate change on water variability and agricultural productivity, necessitated strengthening capacity of Member States to assess the impact of climate change on the agricultural sector to provide the scientific analysis and evidence that informs national policy makers.

Key speakers/presenters

  • H.E. Ms. Mariam Bint Mohamed Al Mehiri, UAE Minister of State for Food Security
  • Ms. Roula Majdalani, Director, SDPD, ESCWA
  • H.E. Mr. Ibrahim Eldukheri, Director General, AOAD
  • Ms. Esse Nilsson, Sida
  • Mr. Jean-Marc Faures, Regional Programme Leader, FAO-RNE
  • Mr. Rami Zurayk, AUB, Lebanon
  • Mr. Ihab Jnad, Head of Water Resources Department, ACSAD

Main themes/issues discussed

The side event brought together about 60 government representatives from the Arab Region along with regional and international experts in the fields of food security, members of the academia, experts, and representatives of regional and international organizations. The following issues were presented and discussed:

Successful partnership to bridging the Science-Policy Gap for enhanced Food Security in the Arab Region and addressing challenges related to food security and climate change within the framework of 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and related Arab strategies and initiatives.

The food security monitoring tool available for decision makers to track the status of food security in the Arab Region and identify areas of policy intervention across the four dimensions of food security.  

The AquaCrop Tool that provides national policy makers with scientific analysis and evidence of the impact of climate change on water availability and agriculture produce using RICCAR climate data

Review of countries’ experiences on enhancing national Food security and the means used to draw upon data and scientific evidence from ESCWA’s initiative

Summary of key points

ESCWA and regional partners, AOAD, ACSAD, and FAO RNE are advancing the nexus approach to development through promoting the Water, and Food cross sectoral coordination, cooperation and harmonization of policies at regional level

ESCWA announced the establishment of the Arab Center for Climate Change Policies in 2018 by a mandate of its 18 Arab Member States to support member countries and strengthen regional capacities to better understand and address the implications of climate change including impact on agriculture and rural communities.

The Arab Regional Food Security Monitoring Framework, a tool developed by ESCWA and partners that builds on global knowledge and practices while accounting for regional specificities and that allows identifying gaps and hotspot areas for policy makers to address.

Capacity building Programs for agriculture experts and national research centers are central to enhance resilience of the sector to climate change. The programs use   climate modeling projections from RICCAR (another project of ESCWA and partners) to forecast agricultural productivity and build evidence for policy directions at national levels.

Arab Countries calling for more coordination and coordination to build capacity on the use of various tools that will inform their development strategies and build resilience to climate change.

Key take away messages

There is a general concern and awareness that everyone has a role to play in addressing the consequences of climate change on food security and nutrition.

Regional organizations and member countries need to work together to collectively promote cross border issues and on top climate actions that address root causes of food security, water availability and build resilience of agricultural sector.

There is evidence that coordination and   partnership between the different stakeholders can significantly enhance scale, performance and results since partners build on each other’s comparative advantage.

There is a need to customize and use the Food Security Monitoring Framework at national levels in order to impact positively food and nutrition security and sustainable agriculture.

Need to reinforce and support the statistical capacities of Arab countries to inform decision making processes at any level, from the local to the regional one;

Need to ensure the use and application of the tools that assess the impact of climate change on water availability and crop production nationwide to better understand future impact and develop necessary climate resilient actions and policies.

Addressing other food security issues such as good agriculture practices, food waste and rebalancing diet is crucial.

The need to invest in appropriate technology, capacity building, and knowledge sharing is key.

CFS 46 Side Event: SE127 Informed Decision Making on Arab food security within the context of climate change

 

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