In the context of climate change, Central Asia stands ready for more cooperation on food security
Acknowledging the negative impacts of climate change on agriculture and food production, ministers from the five Central Asian countries discuss today potential solutions for addressing regional and global food and climate change challenges. The meeting was fostered by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO).
Global and regional events in recent years have attracted more attention to the importance of ensuring food security and access to healthy and nutritious food. According to the recent Global Report on Food Crises, climate change and weather extremes are among the leading causes of hunger, second only to conflicts.
Today’s meeting, hosted by Turkmenistan, aims to provide a platform for the ministers of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan – whose countries are strongly affected by drought, desertification, salinization and other issues – to share views and knowledge on better adapting agriculture to climate change.
“Central Asian countries reside over precious yet fragile natural resources reserves, which are under pressure by climate change – a phenomenon that knows no borders,” said Vladimir Rakhmanin, FAO Assistant Director-General and Regional Representative for Europe and Central Asia. “To boost agriculture in an effective and sustainable manner, events like today’s are important, as they provide a forum to find common and proven solutions.”
The economies of Central Asia are still largely based on agriculture, which plays a considerable role in their national gross domestic products and employment.
However, as the agrifood sector is a key contributor of greenhouse gas emissions, beyond increasing production and efficiency, the environmental sustainability of production methods matters as well. In this regard, participating ministers also will discuss the status of their national sustainable food systems pathways, their commitments linked to the 2021 United Nations Food Systems Summit, and their aims for food systems transformation to achieve the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals.
Participants will have an opportunity to take stock of the progress made since the conclusion of the Summit and to identify challenges for the coming years.
A key resource in this arid region is water. The majority of the population depends on irrigated agriculture, and the energy needs of Central Asia rely heavily on hydropower. To further advance the dialogue on this matter, FAO will present the impacts of climate change on agriculture and food security related to water scarcity.
“Since today’s information exchange is the sixth in the series, the dedication of these five countries to improving agricultural production and sustainability and to providing food security to their populations is unquestionable,” Rakhmanin said.
This time, Central Asian countries are also joined by representatives of international organizations and financial institutions, including the World Bank, the Eurasian Development Bank, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, the Islamic Development Bank, and others.
The agricultural ministers’ meeting of Central Asian countries is part of the international conference “Cooperation on food security in the context of climate change,” taking place in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan.
9 March 2023, Ashgabat, Turkmenistan