Policy Support and Governance Gateway

Near East and North Africa

The region is the world’s most water-scarce with per capita water availability of 10 percent of that of global average. With increasing number of conflicts, the region has suffered a setback in its fight against hunger.

The prevalence of overweight and obesity has ticked up at alarming rates, especially among women. The region’s food and agriculture confronts widespread degradation of natural resources, vulnerability to climate change, high population growth rates, and rapid urbanization.

FAO provides direct policy support to governments.

FAO’s policy support to the region’s member states — widely diverse in their capacities, resources and needs — include strengthening and complementing FAO’s flagships and conducting stand-alone policy studies. FAO collaborates with partner organizations to address regional priorities, including tens of millions of refugees and migrants. FAO provides direct policy support to governments in key thematic areas, from crop production and water resources management to disaster risk reduction and value chain development.

Key policy messages

·        Transform rural areas and generate youth employment. Raise income of smallholders by promoting, for example, digital agriculture, value chain development and private sector participation. Increase entrepreneurship opportunities for young people in hydroponics, aquaculture, organic farming and agri-tourism. These interventions should boost national capacity to participate in global trade.

·        Promote healthy diets for all by strengthening food systems that improve health, lower dependence on food imports, and help to cope with rapid population growth. Interventions focus on technologies and innovations to promote sustainable production, as well as raising awareness to improve food safety and food trade, and reduce food loss and waste.

·       Address water scarcity and the impact of climate change. The adoption of technologies and smart investments can enhance efficiency of water use and water recycling, sustainable soil management and fisheries, reduction of agro-chemical use, and restoring ecosystem functions. Extensive adoption of climate-smart agriculture practices can help mitigate carbon emissions from agriculture.

·        Build resilience to conflicts and protracted crises, which are the prime drivers of hunger and poverty in the region. Support countries to build resilient rural livelihoods, emphasizing the link between humanitarian assistance and long-term development. Invest in early warning system and disaster risk reduction, as well as the elimination of transboundary pests and diseases.

Featured regional publications and tools