FAO Regional Office for Europe and Central Asia

Members of FAO’s Europe and Central Asia region discussed the implications of the war in Ukraine

Issued by the Secretariat of the Regional Conference for Europe

©FAO/Alessia Pierdomenico

23/05/2024, Rome

It has been 75 years since the Europe and Central Asia Members of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) gathered for the first time at FAO’s headquarters in Rome. Last week, once again, they convened to decide on the main priorities and the way forward for the food and agriculture sector of the region. 

Hosted by the Republic of Moldova, the Thirty-fourth Session of the Regional Conference for Europe, held 14–17 May, brought together over 300 participants – representing all 53 Member Countries from the region and the European Union as a Member Organization, as well as United Nations agencies, intergovernmental and non-governmental sectors, research and academia, the private sector and civil society.

The final report of the conference, adopted on 17 May, guides FAO and all relevant actors in advancing the transformation of the region’s food systems towards a more equitable, prosperous, and sustainable future. Here are some of the highlights.

The Regional Conference discussed the role of innovation and digitalization in the sustainable use of natural resources to accelerate the implementation of climate-resilient and low-emission pathways in agrifood systems. 

Another key topic on the agenda was FAO’s response to the multiple crises in Europe and Central Asia, with information provided related to the implications of the COVID-19 pandemic, the war in Ukraine and the repercussions of climate change.

At the request of several Members, the agenda item “Implications on world food security and agriculture, including global food prices, arising from the aggression of the Russian Federation against Ukraine” was added. Following extensive discussions of the presented proposals, the decisions of the Regional Conference on this item were adopted through voting. The Regional Conference decisions reaffirmed the earlier action of the Thirty-third FAO Regional Conference for Europe and the report of the Forty-third session of the FAO Conference, stressing the need to continue their full implementation. Members also expressed appreciation and support for FAO’s work in helping Ukraine and its government restore food security and self-sufficiency and maintain agricultural production and value chains (including through demining agricultural land) and the functioning of critical food system services. Additionally, Members welcomed FAO’s efforts to mitigate and monitor the impacts of the war on food security globally and in Ukraine and requested that FAO continue to assess the damage to the country’s agriculture and food sector and the costs of reconstructing and rehabilitating Ukrainian agriculture. Members requested that FAO regularly report on actions taken with respect to the above.

The Regional Conference elaborated on the global and regional food security outlook, stressing the importance of a sustainable food system approach in addressing food security in the region and globally and recognizing the urgent need to work together to address the main drivers of undernourishment and food insecurity in the world.

When reviewing FAO’s work during 2022–2023, the Regional Conference recognized the importance of the FAO Strategic Framework 2022–2031 in providing direction for FAO’s work and key FAO initiatives in the region, both of which are contributing to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals.