FAO highlights need for strategic regional cooperation on food security
25 February 2014, Rome - Conflict, rapid population growth and urbanization, and a heavy reliance on food imports are posing serious challenges for food security in the Near East and North Africa, according to an FAO report presented to the FAO Regional Conference for the Near East. Despite progress made in some countries, the number of undernourished people in the region remains high. Nearly 43.7 million, or 10 percent of the population, are reported undernourished while 24.5 percent of children under five are stunted due to chronic under-nutrition. Conflicts and civil strife remain the driving factor for food insecurity in the region in recent years, the study says. Hotspots include Iraq, Sudan, Syria, the West Bank and Gaza Strip and Yemen. In Syria alone, an estimated 6.3 million people are in need of sustained food and agricultural assistance.
Nasredin HagElamin is a senior policy officer at FAO’s regional office for the near east and North Africa. In the following interview he elaborates on the complexity of the issues facing food security in the region, the benefits of establishing food security stocks at the regional and sub-regional level, and what governments need to do going forward.
Produced by: Sandra Ferrari