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Near Eastern Trust Fund for food security proposed

Aim to advance food security in region

©FAO/Giulio Napolitano
Director-General José Graziano da Silva addressing the 31st Session of the FAO Regional Conference for the Near East, Rome.
17 May 2012, Rome - FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva today proposed the creation of a Near Eastern Trust Fund to advance food security in the region.

Addressing the FAO Regional Conference for the Near East, Graziano da Silva noted that FAO, at the request African Member Countries, was helping draw up an African Food Security Trust Fund, in which civil society and the private sector were also due to participate.

"A similar effort could also exist in the Near East," he declared.

OECD has recently reported a fall in international development assistance because of the global recession and it is therefore important that countries, especially higher-income developing countries "commit to additional funding and sharing agricultural and rural development experiences among one another," Graziano da Silva noted.

Challenges

Among the Members covered by the FAO Regional Office for the Near East, three - Mauritania, Sudan and Yemen - were low-income countries the remainder were either high-income or middle income. Outside of the LDCs, less than five percent of the region's population was undernourished, but a number of other challenges needed to be confronted, he continued.

They included climate change and increasing water scarcity, building resilience among poor farmers and the need to shift to more sustainable production and consumption patterns to protect the environment.

Resilient systems

In order to meet such challenges "FAO's focus in the region is to assist Member Countries in building resilient agricultural, pastoralist and food systems. To do so we need to increase investments in climate-smart agriculture, sustainable production methods, link productive support with safety nets to boost local markets, as well as to improve the governance of water and other natural resources," Graziano da Silva declared.