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Regional Strategic Framework Reducing Food Losses and Waste in the Near East & North Africa Region

Food losses and waste (FL&W) in the Near East & North Africa (NENA) region are high and contribute to reduced food availability, aggravated water scarcity, adverse environmental impacts and increased food imports, in an already highly import-dependent region.

This document outlines a Regional Strategic Framework for reducing food losses and waste in the region. It responds to the FAO NERC-31 (in May 2012) recommendation calling on FAO to “assist member countries in addressing the key challenges of reducing food waste and losses by conducting comprehensive studies on impact of food losses and waste on food security in the region and in establishing a plan to reduce food losses and waste in the region by 50% within 10 years”. The strategic framework was endorsed by the FAO NERC-32 in February 20141.

This strategic framework has direct links to FAO’s “Global Initiative on Food Loss and Waste Reduction” with respect to vision, objectives and aims, but recognizes the unique characteristics of the NENA region in the actions being recommended. The components of the strategic framework are based on the region’s socio-economic context, gaps in combating FL&W, and availability of resources. They are also based on the various efforts and contributions that have been accomplished, especially since NERC31, including important national and regional consultations, intensive awareness and advocacy mechanisms, networking platforms, a regional study, and national and regional technical support especially with regard to improvement of value chains, value addition, cold chain, and quality and safety management for the different food sectors in the region. Such efforts have already led to actions by member countries, namely the adoption of national initiatives to reduce FL&W in Egypt and Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and some very important measures in other countries such as Iraq, Iran, United Arab Emirates (UAE), and Tunisia.

Implementation of the strategic framework would require the participation and cooperation of all actors in the food supply chain in addition to government agencies, NGOs, civil society institutions and local communities. Formative and summative evaluation processes would need to be carried out during the implementation process, including key indicators of losses and waste reduction as indicated in the objectives of this strategic framework.

This document is intended to provide a strategic framework to FAO/RNE member countries to guide FL&W reduction through national strategic action plans and regional collaborative efforts.

Near East & North Africa