Information
  • Lead-organizer: League of Arab States
  • 15:30 - 17:00
  • Date: 19 Jun 2012
  • Room: P3-F

Documents
Videos
Photos
Food Security and Safety for Development in a Changing Arab World

Organizing partners

League of Arab States - LAS (Lead Agency)
United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (UN ESCWA)
United Nations Environment Programme/Regional Office for West Asia (UNEP/ROWA)
German Agency for International Cooperation (GIZ)
Arab Forum for Environment and Development (AFED)
Arab Organization for Agricultural Development (AOAD)
Reseau Arabe pour l'Environnement et le Developpement (RAED)

Introduction

Ensuring food security and safety has a strong role to play in supporting development in the Arab region, given its huge reliance on food export. The changes that the region is currently undergoing increase the need for carefully designed policies and programmes that contribute to food security and safety and ultimately ensure social security.

Within this context, the proposed Arab side event is expected to contribute to:

a) The creation of a forum/network of civil society and international and regional partners for ensuring awareness and ongoing information on food safety and food security;

b) The elaboration of a regional development project targeting public institutions and civil society with the overall objective of promoting safe and secure food habits and dynamics.

The side event will feature a short video expressing the views of the youth on food security and food safety issues at national levels and in the Arab world.

Detailed programme

I. Expected outcomes and contribution to Rio+20

a) The creation of a forum/network of civil society and international and regional partners for ensuring awareness and ongoing information on food safety and food security
b) The proposal of a regional development project targeting public institutions and civil society with the overall objective of promoting a safe and secure food habits and dynamics

II. Media campaign

The issue of food security and safety has been widely debated among different stakeholders and in policy circles, CSOs, regional and sub regional forums. However, in the Arab Region, the public opinion is still amalgamating the concepts of food security and food self sufficiency. There is a need to distinguish between these two concepts while highlighting also the impact of food security and safety on sustainable development and on the socio political environment prevailing in the region. To this end a short video will be produced in order to allow various stakeholders and notably the youth to express their views on food security and food safety issues at national levels and in the Arab world. It is envisioned that short interviews will be conducted among students in schools and universities in selected countries, together with the organization of radio events and other media interventions, which will be collected and integrated into a short video to be presented and discussed at the side event.

III. Panelists and discussants

The event will feature a welcoming remark from the League of Arab States (LAS) and keynote address by the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (UN ESCWA) to provide a general overview of the issue at stake. These will be followed by a presentation of the short film and then by a high level discussion panel (3-4 discussants) that will include questions and answers from the floor.

Panelists and discussants will include:
- Minister of Environment, United Arab Emirates
- Former Minister of Environment of Jordan
- Executive Secretary of ESCWA
- Director General of the Arab Forum for Environment and Development
- Director of the Department of Environment, Housing and Sustainable Development, League of Arab States

IV. Background

Food security exists when all people, at all times, have physical and economic access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food to meet their dietary needs and food preferences for an active and healthy life. Food security deals with food availability, access, utilization and stability issues.

The Rio+20 Conference brings the opportunity to reaffirm the role of Food Security in Sustainable Development as referred to in the Zero Draft of the outcome document under the paragraphs on food security (par. 64-66).

Ensuring food security and safety have a strong role to play in supporting development in this changing Arab region and there is a need for carefully designed policies and programmes that could contribute to food security and safety and ultimately ensure social security.

Green Economy, one of the two main themes of Rio+20 Conference, provides different options to address Food Security. As Food Security impact poverty alleviation, livelihood improvement and ecosystem management, it involves the three dimensions of Sustainable Development (economic, social and environmental) that a Green Economy aims to address.

Moreover, maintaining the social, economic and environmental functions of the production systems with a view to support livelihoods and food security fits within the globally adopted water-energy-food security nexus and Green Economy and need for environmental preservation, while responding appropriately to scarcity of resources plaguing the region is amongst the goals of the Green Economy paradigm. (Par. 25 Zero Draft: ?We are convinced that a green economy in the context of sustainable development and poverty eradication should contribute to meeting key goals ? in particular the priorities of poverty eradication, food security??).

V. Preliminary agenda

- Welcome remarks and presentation of objectives (LAS)
- Keynote address on food security and food safety in the Arab region (UN ESCWA)
- Short film
- Panel Discussion on necessary steps to cope with food security and food safety in a changing environment
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