The Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) concluded today its thirtieth Regional Conference for the Near East Region (NERC 30) that was held during 4 - 8 December 2010 in Khartoum; at the kind invitation of the Government of the Sudan. Seventeen member states from the Near East Region have participated in addition to observers. The Conference started with a three-day meeting for Senior Officers from 4 to 6 December, followed by a Ministerial Meeting on 7 and 8 December. Dr. Nasredin Elamin, Secretary General of the Conference stated that the report and recommendations of the Senior Officers Meeting have been adopted by the Ministerial Meeting.
The Ministerial Meeting reviewed FAO activities in the Region during 2008-2009 and actions taken on the main recommendations of the last FAO Regional Conference for the Near East. The Meeting also discussed the implementation of the Programme of Work and Budget for 2010-11 and areas of priority actions for the Near East Region for the next couple of years.
Matters Arising from the 36th Session of the FAO Conference:
The Conference endorsed the overall vision and efforts for FAO decentralization as well as the proposals on structure and functioning of the Decentralized Offices network. The Conference urged FAO for efforts to further strengthen the Decentralized Offices network.
Role of the FAO Regional Conferences in the Reformed Committee on World Food Security (CFS):
The Conference welcomed and supported the on-going reform of the Committee on World Food Security (CFS) and the progress made in its implementation. The Conference agreed on the importance of re-enforcing the linkage between CFS and the Near East Region.
Establishment of One Global Shared Services Centre.
The Conference considered the experience to date with the Shared Services Centre (SSC) in providing administrative services from hubs at Bangkok, Budapest and Santiago; that has resulted in considerable savings during the last couple of years. The Conference suggested establishment of a single hub structure in Budapest. This would allow for standardization of processes and economies of scale and would result in further substantial savings.
FAO Regional Priority Framework for the Near East:
Dr. Saad Al-Otaibyi, Assistant Director General and Regional Representative for the Near East stated that five priority areas were identified and endorsed for FAO work in the region. These are:
1. Enhancing Food Security and Nutrition;
2. Fostering Agricultural Production and Rural Development for Improved Livelihood;
3. Sustainable Natural Resources Management;
4. Response to Climate Change Impacts; and Developing Adaptation Strategies; and
5. Preparedness for, and Response to, Food and Agriculture Emergencies
He said that the proposed regional framework is foreseen to support Member Countries in addressing national, sub-regional and regional priorities. It will serve as the tool for resource mobilization and for the development of cooperative programmes, involving donors from and outside the Region.
Three side events were organised during the Conference:
1- Exploring the future of foreign investment in agriculture for the Near East. This side event was organised on 5 December 2010; attended by all member country delegates, observers and selected invited experts;
2- Enhancing national and regional governance of food security and nutrition: capitalizing on CFS reform. This side event was organised on 6 December 2010; attended by all member country delegates, observers and selected invited experts; and
3- Evaluation of the Regional and Sub-regional Offices of the Near East. This side event was organized on 6 December 2010. Participation was limited to member countries only.
The Conference took note of the issues discussed and recommendations made in each of the three side events.
Next Regional Conference for the Near East:
The next Conference will be held in 2012 in Iraq. The Conference concluded by proposing the topics to be considered in the next round; which are:
1- Fisheries and aquaculture management and development: Scenarios and options for the Near East and North Africa countries
2- Support services for agricultural production and productivity in the Near East Region
3- Developing a regional strategy to improve agricultural statistics in the Near East Region
4- Experience and need for policy and technical support on the use of non conventional water resources in the Near East Region
5- Action to Adopt/mitigate environmental and climate change impact on livestock production and health in the Near East Region
6- Ways and means to improve the agricultural investments in the Near East region
7- Reducing qualitative and quantitative post harvest crop losses in the Near East Region
8- Increase agricultural trade among Near East countries
9- Reducing the negative impact of desertification on agricultural production
Source: Public Information _ FAORNE