FAO Regional Office for Europe and Central Asia


COVID-19 and Food Safety Control and Management


While there is no evidence that COVID-19 can be transmitted through food, the public health measures implemented to limit the person to person spread of coronavirus have had an impact on food supply chains, trade and consumer purchasing patterns. Food producers, food processors, consumers and food safety competent authorities have made the necessary adjustments, some of which are relevant to food safety control and management. Beyond the safety of food, the COVID-19 pandemic raised awareness and concern around the potential hazards that can affect humans, animals and the environment, leading to a renewed focus on the One Health approach, and the need for collaboration between the public health, agriculture, veterinary, and environment sectors. To this end, the joint FAO-WHO webinar will share information and experiences on how food safety management, control, and attitudes have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. The multi-stakeholder panel of experts will highlight opportunities and challenges from different perspectives. They will facilitate the sharing of lessons learned and cooperation in Europe and Central Asia, and inform about the work of FAO and WHO in the region.

Seed systems during COVID-19: challenges and opportunities for Europe and Central Asia


The main objective of the webinar is to exchange information and experiences on the COVID-19 related impacts and risks of seed systems and the potential measures to mitigate them. Food production depends on the availability, accessibility, and quality of seeds. Although the COVID-19 crisis’ effects on seed systems have not appeared immediately, they could be long-lasting, therefore timely measures are crucial to prevent further deterioration of food insecurity.

Food waste prevention and reduction in the times of crisis


The COVID-19 pandemic has brought to the forefront the fragility and weaknesses of our agrifood systems. It laid bare the disruptions of food production (harvest) and distribution with special focus on the prevention of food loss and waste.

Mitigating severe impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and the response measures will require collaborative and innovative approaches.

Agrifood trade policies in Europe and Central Asia during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond


This joint WTO-FAO webinar provides a platform for sharing information and opinions on trade policies that aim to address the impacts of COVID-19 in the agriculture of Europe and Central Asia. To support an informed multilateral dialogue on trade policies, it takes stock on and analyzes the different measures that have been implemented. A series of measures were adopted in the region and elsewhere in response to COVID-19, many of which have been short-lived and have been lifted. In this context, some of the countries and/or economic communities in the region opted for domestic support measures by providing subsidies and hoarding stocks. The virtual event will discuss the significance of trade in Europe and Central Asia, and the impact that different types of domestic support measures may have on it, particularly as the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic raise questions about the significance of trade vis-à-vis self-sufficiency strategies.

FAO Regional High-level Dialogue for Europe and Central Asia - Multi-Partner Response to COVID-19 in the food and agriculture sector


The high-level panel brings together FAO’s current and prospective partners operating across Central Asia, South Caucasus, Eastern Europe, and the Western Balkans, interested in jointly delivering region-tailored programmatic solutions to the evolving socio-economic and environmental consequences of the global health crisis in the food and agriculture sector. The discussion follows the global dialogue launched by FAO Director-General on 14 July to present FAO’s Comprehensive Response and Recovery Programme to COVID-19 and will draw on FAO’s Regional Response Plan developed in an evidence-based, consultative process, comprising six priorities for the immediate and medium-term actions.

The impact of COVID-19 on seasonal and circular migration


The border restrictions and lockdown measures, following the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, have affected seasonal and circular migration, as well as food security. Seasonal migration is the process when people migrate for employment, based on seasonality, and for only part of the year, following the agricultural seasonal calendar. Circular migration happens when an individual moves repeatedly between countries or areas, be it temporary or long-term. As the pandemic’s consequences slowed down the harvest in some parts of the world, many seasonal workers remained without livelihoods, and there were constraints on transporting food to markets.

4th North and Central Asian Multi-Stakeholder Forum on Implementation of the Sustainable Development


The Subregional SDG Forum will provide an opportunity to discuss the current situation of implementation of the SDGs in North and Central Asian countries and possible actions and solutions for the acceleration of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in the context of coping with the negative impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and to “build back better”. The Subregional SDG Forum’s outcomes and recommendations will feed into regional and global processes, in particular the annual Asia-Pacific Forum for Sustainable Development (APFSD) and the High-Level Political Forum (HLPF).

Agricultural research in the post-COVID-19 era: Can more be produced with less?


Agricultural research is central to unlock the potential of agricultural innovation and achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. It is essential for increasing productivity and promoting sustainable agricultural growth, and alleviating poverty. FAO is organizing a webinar focusing on Europe and Central Asia on “Agricultural research in Europe and Central Asia in the post-COVID-19 era: Can be produced more with less?”. The event will discuss information and experiences with governments and research institutes on the relevance of agricultural research and innovation in adopting and promoting new and innovative technologies for increased food production with less resources.

Impact of COVID-19 and social protection: What measures work?


Vulnerable groups have been hit hard by the current pandemic and its economic consequences, affecting people’s health, food security and nutrition, income, and employment status. As a result, countries in Europe and Central Asia have strengthened social protection programmes. The upcoming FAO webinar, the fourth in a series of regional COVID-19 webinars, will focus on practical solutions that aim to mitigate COVID-19 impacts and associated challenges, and provide opportunities through social protection measures. The discussion will examine proven ways and tools, as well as analyze strengths, weaknesses and requirements of the adopted measures relevant to rural populations.

Keeping smallholders and family farms viable through the COVID-19 pandemic


Food systems in Europe and Central Asia are under pressure by COVID-19. Food outlets and people’s mobility have been temporarily suspended, trade has been disrupted, unemployment is on the rise. Their impacts are yet to be quantified, notably in relation to smallholder agriculture that plays a pivotal role in the region. The webinar focuses on the numerous needs and constraints of smallholders and family farms in the region, highlighting the specific challenges that are further evolving due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

ITU-FAO Webinar on Fostering Digital Agriculture in Europe and Central Asia


This webinar provides an opportunity to present results of the new study on the Status of Digital Agriculture in eighteen countries of Europe and Central Asia conducted jointly by FAO and ITU. At the webinar, some countries can highlight their national good practices and present the work jointly done with ITU and FAO. The event also aims at engaging new partners from the public and private sector at digital agriculture activities across the region.

Extension and advisory services on the frontline of COVID-19 response for resilient and sustainable food systems in Europe and Central Asia


Across the globe, the pandemic has generated extreme vulnerability in the agricultural sector, confronting governments with the multiple challenges of protecting human lives, and livelihoods, as well as, and ensuring sufficient food supplies and basic services for the most needy.

Lifting lockdowns – what next for food systems?


As countries ease lockdown measures, a new set of challenges emerges for food production, processing, and logistics of supply chains. Some of these can provide opportunity for growth, given that policy-makers and value chain actors play their part. To mitigate COVID-19 impacts and to open new opportunities, countries need practical solutions on a range of issues including food supply, food and nutrition security, trade and markets.