FAO Regional Office for Near East and North Africa

Role of Public Policies in Supporting Innovation for Sustainable Agri-Food System Transformation in the NENA Region

12/11/2020-12/11/2020

Organized by:

Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), International Telecommunication Union (ITU), & Ministry of Environment, Water and Agriculture of Saudi Arabia (MoEWA) in partnership with United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (UNESCWA), International Center for Biosaline Agriculture (ICBA), International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA), International Fund For Agricultural Development (IFAD), The World Bank Group (WB), & International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).

Background:

The COVID-19 pandemic added a considerable burden to rural livelihoods by deterring the engagement of men, women and youth in economic activities due to food systems disruptions, such as weakened access to services, knowledge, strategic productive resources and markets. Evidence shows that innovation and digital agriculture are and will be at the core of the rural transformation required to improve rural livelihoods and increase resilience of rural and vulnerable rural communities.

After the postponement of the “International Forum on innovation in agri-food systems to achieve SDGs”, FAO and partners co-organized a series of nine Innovation Zoominars addressing the role of innovation and digital technologies in increasing resilience of smallholders to emerging disruptive impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on rural livelihoods.

This tenth Zoominar session, will be part of ITU-UNESCO Regional Digital Inclusion Week for the Arab States, focusing on challenges facing the innovation processes in the agriculture sector with regards to governance and public policy aspects. The session will involve all partners and government representatives from the NENA Region and will emphasize on accelerating the development of innovation and digital agriculture in agri-food systems in the countries. The discussion will examine the role that FAO and partners could play in facilitating the implementation and scalability of such innovations in the NENA region and guiding governments towards a robust policy plan of action to avoid the worst consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic on the agriculture sector and food security.

Objectives:

  1. Present the main outcomes and conclude the series of the nine innovation Zoominar sessions, drawing conducive recommendations and emphasizing the important role of public policies and governance in supporting innovation in the agriculture sector.
  2. Discuss main policy challenges hindering digital transformation in agriculture and the road map to enhance innovation; and explore areas of cooperation and support. 

Agenda:

-          Introductory remarks: Ismahane El Ouafi, Director General – International Center for Biosaline Agriculture (ICBA)

-          Findings and recommendations of the Innovation Zoominar series and way forward: Rachid Serraj, Senior Project Officer and Delivery Manager of the Regional Initiative for small-scale family farming (RISSFF), Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO RNE)

-          Partners Vision:

  • Dina Saleh, Regional Director, Near East, North Africa, Europe & Central Asia – IFAD
  • Karim AbdelGhani, Programme Coordinator – ITU
  • Jacques Werry, Deputy Director General/ Research – ICARDA
  • Reem Nejdawi, Project Coordinator, Climate change and Natural Resources Sustainability Cluster – ESCWA
  • Youssef ElHafedth, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA)
  • WB

-          Group discussion (breakout rooms):

  • Group 1: Mashreq – Facilitated by WB & Rabi Mohtar, Dean of Faculty of Agricultural and Food Sciences – AUB
  • Group 2: Maghreb – Facilitated by FAO & Karim AbdelGhani – ITU
  • Group 3: GCC – Facilitated by Jacques Werry – ICARDA & Navin Twarakavi, Senior Research Scientist – IBM

-          Presentation of recommendations or findings of the discussion.

-          General discussion

-          Policy Note: Clemens Breisinger, Country Program Leader – International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI)

-          Concluding remarks: Ministry of Environment, Water and Agriculture of Saudi Arabia (MoEWA)

Session will be moderated and co-moderated by:

-          Jean-Marc Faures, Regional Programme Leader - Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO RNE)

-          Rachid Serraj, Senior Project Officer and Delivery Manager of the Regional Initiative for small-scale family farming (RISSFF), Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO RNE)

Languages of the Zoominar:

-          English, Arabic and French.

HOW TO ATTEND

  • Only registered participants will attend, please find the registration link here
  • Please note that the session will start on time on 12 November 2020 at 13:00 – 15:00 (GMT+2)
  • We invite all participants to kindly login 10 minutes before.
  • We suggest using Google Chrome or the Zoom App, in order to join the session
  • We suggest trying the Zoom before https://fao.zoom.us/test
  • We also recommend you to check your time zone here.

For further inquiries please feel free to contact[email protected]