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The 34th Session of the FAO Regional Conference for Europe (ERC) ended today following four days of exchanges on the steps needed to transform agrifood systems in Europe and Central Asia.

Director-General says four-day Conference helped identify the priorities needed for FAO “to do more and better."


The Thirty-fourth Session of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) Regional Conference for Europe (ERC), scheduled from 14 to 17 May in Rome, is in full swing. This conference, which is the main FAO decision-making body for its Europe and Central Asia region, features ministerial round-table discussions and side events on current challenges and opportunities for the food and agriculture realm of the region. Hosted at FAO’s headquarters and webcast live online, the ERC side events welcome speakers from governments, the private and civil sectors, and the academic community to look at such key issues as sustainable locust management, foresight drivers and triggers, climate action, water resource management, true cost accounting, and the challenges of transforming agrifood systems in landlocked developing countries to be more inclusive, resilient and sustainable – all from a regional perspective.

FAO Director-General QU Dongyu today urged FAO Members in Europe and Central Asia to discuss strategies and policy options to transform agrifood systems so that they can feed into a regional foresight exercise for the region. Speaking at a side event of the 34th Session of the Regional Conference for Europe, QU stressed the importance of strategic foresight exercises as an essential approach to better understand the possibilities of different future scenarios.
Today, during the second day of the Thirty-fourth Session of the Regional Conference for Europe (ERC), ministers of agriculture from the Europe and Central Asia region explored the role of innovation and digitalization in the sustainable use of natural resources and reviewed the response of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) to the multiple crises in Europe and Central Asia.
While countries in Europe and Central Asia are grappling with conflict and environmental challenges, they are well positioned to pursue the sustainable transformation of agrifood systems and have already taken steps towards achieving many of the core Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), QU Dongyu, Director-General of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, said Tuesday in remarks opening the 34th Session of the Regional Conference for Europe (ERC).
Kyrgyzstan’s economy is heavily dependent on agriculture, the productivity of which largely depends on water availability. Much of that water is meltwater from the mountains, where climate change is having a serious negative effect on the environment. Glaciers are melting and snowfall is becoming inadequate to replenish the shortfall in the volume of water available to agriculture. Water has become an important issue for Kyrgyzstan and its farming communities. Due to water scarcity, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the Government of Kyrgyzstan and scientists from the Irrigation Institute have joined forces to address the issue of field water accounting.
Khudoidod Rasulov’s vocation as a teacher and his interest in information technology from an early age make him a uniquely valuable figure in his village of Lolazor some 30 kilometers east of Tajikistan’s capital, Dushanbe. He’s the go-to person whenever fellow villagers need information to help better cultivate their orchards and market their produce online. So it’s not surprising that he’s played a key role as the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) has implemented its Digital Villages Initiative in Lolazor.
A stakeholders’ meeting in Rome marked a pivotal step towards greater private sector engagement for climate-smart agrifood systems. It was held as part of a joint project of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and European Bank of Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) to decarbonize selected agrifood value chains and make them more resilient to climate change.
In the picturesque landscape of northern Albania's Tropoja region, nestled within the expansive chestnut forest massif, an ambitious initiative is taking shape. The chestnut sector is now the focus of the One Country One Priority Product (OCOP) programme of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). The programme is a global FAO initiative that helps countries identify and then leverage the potential of special agricultural products to facilitate improved access to stable markets and acting as a key entry point for reaching their defined priorities. Special Agricultural Products are those which are unique to their agroecological production systems or of importance to national or cultural heritage. 
Private sector organizations from Europe and Central Asia are preparing to make a collective statement to the upcoming Thirty-fourth Session of the Regional Conference for Europe and Central Asia (ERC34) of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), which will be hosted by the Republic of Moldova at FAO headquarters in Rome, 14 to 17 May.