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FAO urged to address land degradation, malnutrition, needs of family farms

Key elements of FAO’s work in Europe and Central Asia – combating land and soil degradation, addressing the needs of family farms, boosting nutrition through agriculture, and studying rural people’s access to social protection schemes – were affirmed by the Organization’s members this week. The 39th session of the European Commission on Agriculture concluded its biennial session today in Budapest.

The Commission recommended that FAO strengthen its technical support to member countries – in close coordination with civil society organizations and the private sector – for halting and reversing land degradation. The focus should be on restoring degraded soils – in line with the global Sustainable Development Goals expected to be adopted later this month.

The Commission requested still greater effort to promote gender equality and social protection in national policies and programmes. It also affirmed the Organization’s research and presentation of good practices and success stories in the area of social protection for rural people, in order to build an evidence base for technical and policy advice to governments.

Taking note of the high levels of malnutrition in many countries of the region, the Commission recommended that countries promote dietary diversity, food quality and safety, and healthy national habits considering local traditions. It called on FAO to establish robust monitoring and evaluation systems, and to pursue an approach that involves partners from civil society and the private sector.

It was recognized that small-scale and family farmers play a critical role in generating new ideas and putting them into practice – which is important for agricultural development and food security. The Commission encouraged FAO to continue collecting and analysing good practices in this area, and assisting countries as they revise their policies to recognize the importance of family farming. The FAO-hosted “Family Farming Knowledge Platform” was presented on the margins of the session. The Platform gathers digitized information on family farming across the world, including national laws and regulations, public policies, best practices, relevant data and statistics, research, articles and publications.

A total of 37 member countries and the European Union were represented at the session, which was hosted by Hungary’s Ministry of Agriculture. On the margins of the meeting, delegates also toured Hungary’s National Agriculture and Food Exhibition (OMÉK).

23 September 2015, Budapest, Hungary

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