FAO Regional Office for Europe and Central Asia

With renowned partners, FAO looks at the future of food systems

Transforming food systems is a top priority everywhere in the world. In this respect, FAO advocates for sustainable food systems that would deliver healthy and nutritious food to everyone, and provides guidance to this end on how to balance economic, social, and environmental aspects – even in these challenging times.

In order to define its future medium and long term priorities for Europe and Central Asia, FAO has requested a group of renowned experts to prepare a region-specific report outlining the trends, challenges, and opportunities for food, agriculture and rural development in the region up to 2025 and beyond. The team was led by Eugenia Serova (Higher School of Economics, Moscow), Attila Jambor (Corvinus University, Budapest), and Diana Kopeva (University of National and World Economy, Sofia).

A virtual regional workshop was convened on 27–28 August, where the research teams presented the draft report for review. Many renowned scientists in agriculture and experts from the civil society and the private sectors, UN agencies, and international finance institutions from around the globe participated.

As FAO Regional Programme Leader Raimund Jehle noted that bringing in their voices for this two-day meeting was crucial to ensure comprehensiveness of the report as a basis for FAO’s future focus in the region’s food systems.

The meeting underlined the importance of including the COVID-19 response in the report, not only under short-term, but also medium-term, action. Experts also emphasized the multiple dimensions of digitalization, its implications and opportunities for the region, as well as the need to promote agriculture, fisheries, and forestry to young people.

The report will serve as a background document at the upcoming FAO European Regional Conference (2–4 November) and give regional dimension to the ongoing review process of the FAO’s strategic framework, which will be approved by FAO members at the Forty-second FAO Conference planned for July 2021.

“Countries of the region have come a long way already in transforming their agricultural and food systems, and there is still a lot to do, as we had to cope with climate change, pandemics, plant pests, and other pressures,” said Vladimir Rakhmanin, FAO Assistant Director-General and Regional Representative. “Still, together, by building on partnerships and collaboration, we can ensure a better future for all.”

2 September 2020, Budapest, Hungary