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FAO Regional Office for Near East and North Africa
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Countries in the region have been exposed to a wide range of recurrent natural and human-induced shocks including a high incidence of conflicts and protracted crises, as well as climate change impacts. In addition, the high population growth rates and the growing urbanization are putting heavy pressure on the demand for food and water.

While, during the last years, countries have shown remarkable resilience by making food security and water management a policy priority, the goal of eradicating food insecurity and malnutrition is still far from being achieved.

Investing in resilience and food security in the NENA region is therefore vital to fight hunger and sustain peace whilst it is a powerful lever to reach the Sustainable Development Goal pledge “to leave no one behind”. 

Building resilience for food security and nutrition

Under the Regional Strategic Framework for Food Security and Nutrition, the Initiative supports countries in addressing the multiple threats and risks to food insecurity and malnutrition in the region by focusing on:

  • Strengthening capacities for developing coherent policy frameworks and investment programmes at national and regional levels;
  • Developing reliable evidence-based food security information systems and advocating for knowledge exchange to ensure efficient decision-making;
  • Promoting the development of effective and sustainable food systems with specific attention to reducing food losses and waste;
  • Building the resilience of households, communities and agro-ecosystems to anticipate, absorb and recover from the negative impacts of human-made and natural shocks.

Beside structural factors, the rise in conflict has increased vulnerability to food insecurity and malnutrition, with spillover effects from Syria and Iraq, including unsustainable refugee populations, lower levels of cross-border trade and increased threat of transboundary diseases. The impact of conflicts and crises is long lasting affecting not only the production capacity and economic growth but also the resilience capacity of individuals, households and communities.

In this scenario, the Initiative advocates for a shifting from an old paradigm of disaster relief and recovery to that of planning, preparation and resilience building, bridging short-term humanitarian aid and long-term development interventions.

The major work of the Initiative is developed in Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Mauritania, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Syria, West Bank and Gaza, and Yemen. 

Facts and figures in the Near East and North Africa

With the highest number and intensity of conflicts in the world, political instability and protracted crises have been the key driving factors of food insecurity in the region:

Iraq:

  • 2.9 million people are food insecure -77% of them are women, children or elderly
  • FAO supported 58 716 people in 2016

Syria:

  • An estimated 7 million people will be food insecure in 2017 and a further 2 million are at risk of food insecurity
  • FAO supported nearly 763 518 people in 2016

Yemen:

  • 17 million people - equivalent to 60 percent of the total population- urgently need food security and livelihood assistance
  • 300 000 people have been reached by FAO in 2017

West Bank Gaza Strip:

  • 1.6 million people are food insecure
  • 3 000 people reached by FAO in 2016