FAO Regional Office for Europe and Central Asia

New project promotes sustainable food systems in the Black Sea region

A virtual workshop kicked off a new FAO project that establishes a Regional Cooperation Centre for Sustainable Food Systems for Black Sea Economic Cooperation Organization (BSEC) countries. As a framework for cooperation among FAO, Turkey, and the Black Sea Economic Cooperation Organization, the project will run for three years with a budget of USD 0.5 million, funded by the FAO-Turkey Partnership Programme.

The centre will provide the 13 member states of BSEC advice, guidance, and information on food security and safety, poverty alleviation, and sustainable natural resource management, including aquatic resources and institutional capacities, with the ultimate aim of making food systems more sustainable.

The project will be vital for helping countries recover from the impacts of COVID-19 on food and nutrition security and assisting to rebuild their economies. By 2023, BSEC member nations should be able to analyze and monitor sustainability of their food systems and implement actions making food systems more resilient to future shocks and crises.

The event included interventions from Viorel Gutu, FAO Subregional Coordinator for Central Asia and Representative in Turkey, Ambassador Ebru Barutçu Gökdenizler, First Deputy Secretary General of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation Organization, and Aylin Çağlayan Özcan, Director General of Turkey’s Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry. They all emphasized the significance to develop sustainable food systems in BSEC member countries – whose total area covers nearly 20 million km² inhabited by 337 million people.

In his speech, Gutu particularly underlined that the newly established Cooperation Centre would be an instrument in producing constructive and region-wide answers to challenges in food systems.

At the workshop, discussions centered around potential project beneficiaries, expected impacts, outcomes, and outputs, as well as governance mechanisms. In addition, the project’s principles, statutes, and procedures were on the agenda.

Participants further elaborated how the centre would contribute to the preparations of the Food Systems Summit, which will be organized in September 2021.

Established in 1992, the BSEC comprises of Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Georgia, Greece, the Republic of Moldova, North Macedonia, Romania, the Russian Federation, Serbia, Turkey, and Ukraine. The region also has an internal trade volume of more than USD 167 billion annually with agrifood trade accounting for a significant share.

About the FAO-Turkey Partnership Programme

The objectives of the FAO-Turkey Partnership Programmes are to provide support to ensure food security, rural poverty reduction, and sustainable forest management, combat desertification, and preserve ecosystems in Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkey, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan, and beyond.

Established in 2007, the first phase of the FAO-Turkey Partnership Programme on Food and Agriculture has benefited from trust fund contributions totalling USD 10 million, financed by the Government of Turkey and represented by the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry. In 2014, Turkey and FAO commenced the second phase along with the first phase of the FAO-Turkey Forestry Partnership Programme with an additional fund of USD 20 million, bringing Turkey’s total contribution to USD 30 million.

8 December 2020, Ankara Turkey