FAO Regional Office for Near East and North Africa

First Steering Committee meeting (virtually) of the Red Palm Weevil Management Programme in the Near East and North Africa

The Regional office for Near East and North Africa (RNE) of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nation (FAO) organized its first Zoom meeting on the status and implementation of the Red Palm Weevil Management Programme on 08th June 2020.


The Red Palm Weevil (RPW) is a serious transboundary pest of date, coconut and ornamental palms and is among the world’s major invasive pests that attacks around 40 palm species worldwide causing widespread damage to date palms and other plantations and impacts production, farmer livelihoods and the environment.


Participants in the teleconference included some members of the RPW Trust Fund Steering Committee including FAO, AOAD, ICARDA, IPPC, NEPPO, CIHEAM-Bari, ICBA, RPW programme Trust Fund pledging countries (Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Sultanate of Oman) and international RPW Experts, in addition to technical officers and specialists from FAO Headquarter and the Regional office for the NENA Region.


Various cities, 8 June 2020: The FAO first international conference on RPW held in Rome (29 to 31 March 2017 had developed a Framework Strategy for Eradication of RPW. The first RPW Steering Committee Meeting convened in Cairo (22 to 24 May 2017) finalized the report of the Rome Meeting and a proposed a matrix to follow-up actions. Another important meeting was held at the margin of the sixth International Date Palm Conference, UAE (19 March 2018). It focused on the importance of a multidisciplinary programme and an integrated approach to manage the RPW. Later on, FAO organized a scientific international meeting on “Innovative and Sustainable Approaches for the Control of RPW in Bari, Italy (23 to 25 October 2018). Bari meeting focused the attention on the gaps in the control of RPW. This was followed by a donor meeting in Abu Dhabi on 9 March 2019 which endorsed the FW strategy for eradication of RPW and endorsed the creation of a Trust Fund to finance its implementation. Five Technical Working Groups (TWGs) were formed to address the gaps in RPW management in areas of technology transfer, research and capacity building. Membership in the TWGs comprised FAO, international and regional R&D organizations, National Agricultural Research Systems (NARS) in the NENA region, private sector and International RPW experts.


The current meeting reviewed the status of the RPW Management Programme and the work of the TWGs. Partners reviewed the financial aspects including donor pledges. They assessed the status of the TWGs priorities, project development, budget allocations and partnerships issues. The meeting addressed pending actions needed towards completion of the TWGs projects’ workplans, targets, detailed activity budgets, nomination of country focal points, collection of baseline data, designation of a leading institution/partner for each TWG and a monitoring plan.


Participants evaluated the work of the TWGs projects based on relevance, feasibility, sustainability and projects alignment and strategic fit to the RPW Framework Strategy among other criteria. The meeting decided on TWG project priorities, activity programming (priorities, timelines etc.) and level of funding to be approved.


Participants emphasised on fostering partnerships for effective implementation of planned activities. The meeting noted the remarks, suggestions and expectations of partners organizations and countries and agreed on follow-up actions and deadlines towards the work of the TWGs, launch of TWGs activities and strengthening partnerships.