Food Security and Nutrition in the Challenges, priorities and policy processes

Food Security and Nutrition in the
Near East and North Africa Region (NENA):
Challenges, priorities and policy processes
Mohamed Aw-Dahir
Regional Food Systems Economist,
SO1 Focal Point FAO/RNE
FSN Forum Workshop, 10-11 December 2015
Rome, Italy
Presentation outline
• Regional context
• FSN Challenges
• Strengths and opportunities
• Some of the ongoing processes (policies, and
strategies at regional and national levels)
• Potential synergy between the Global FSN Forum
and the exiting NENA platform
 Despite the homogeneity in many aspects, the region is one of the most
complex in term of the status of the economy, political stability, governance
system, natural resources endowment and poverty level etc;
Gulf Countries
A number of middle income countries
Least Developed Countries (LDCs)
Countries affected by conflict and protracted crises
 Agriculture sector contributes about 10% of regional GDP and employs 21%
of the population;
 Large and growing population: 6% of the world population, with 2.2% annual
growth rate, pushing the demand for food upwards
Context cont…
Progress towards the Millennium Development Goals (MDG 1c) in
the NENA Region
•Despite the impressive record by some of the countries,
the region as a whole has neither achieved the World Food
Summit target of halving the number of undernourished
nor the MDG target of halving the proportion of
undernourishment by 2015;
•A setback in the fight against hunger as the number of hungry
people in the region has doubled from 16.5M people in 1990–
1992 to 33M in2015;
Undernourished people in the world and NENA region, 1990–92 to 2014–16
Source: FAO
Some of the FSN challenges
 Limited and fragile natural resource base especially land and
water coupled with the impact of climate change, declining
rate of productivity growth etc.
 High population growth rate, urbanization, unemployment,
widening gap between food production and demand;
 Heavy reliance on food imports; highly vulnerable to
quantity and price shocks;
 Impact of the transition: Conflict, civil insecurity, regional
instability, population movement…
FSN challenges cont…
Regional instability: Conflict, civil insecurity and population movement
are the key drivers of food insecurity in parts of the region
FSN challenges cont…
NENA's rising trade deficit for food and agricultural products
Source: FAO
Challenges cont..
Population growth rate is higher than world average
Widening gap
between food
and domestic
Source: UN DESA, Population Division
NENA: Opportunities and strengths
• Long (ancient) agricultural tradition
• Geographical position (extended regional market,
closeness to important foreign markets)
• Dynamism of the private sector (Morocco, Tunisia,
Egypt: export of high value crops: olive oil, dates,
citrus, strawberries, grapes and many other crops)
• Improved food value addition and value chains would
significantly increase employment
NENA: Regional priorities
1. Enhancing food security and nutrition.
2. Fostering agricultural production and rural development for improved
3. Sustainable management of natural resources.
4. Responding to climate change impacts and developing adaptation
5. Preparedness for, and response to, food and agriculture emergencies.
Despite the constantly shifting priorities due to the impact of major
global and regional trends (global financial crises, food price volatility,
Arab Spring, regional conflict, migration and refugees etc), FSN
remains central element for national strategies
NENA: Some of the FSN Policy processes
i) At Regional level
• The new SDGs process led by ESCWA and LAS
• CFS/RNE led Regional Multi Stakeholder annual forum;
• NERC-endorsed Regional Strategy to reduce FLW;
• Implementation of the ICN2 commitments in nutrition
ii) At National level: Renewed efforts/rethinking of FSN problems and
possible solutions. The KSA, Morocco, Sudan, Oman, UAE, Mauritian, Yemen
and many others have/in the process of designing FSRD strategies.
What are the potential synergies and complementarity
between the NENA platforms and the Global FSN Forum?
 NENA has active FSN platforms and coordination mechanisms:
(i) UN-LAS Regional Coordination Mechanism-Thematic Working Group on FSN, (ii) CFS/RNE Regional
MSH Forum for FSN, (iii) Regional Network for FLW, (iv) Sub regional Network for the Syria Crises etc
 These networks and platforms have large membership including policy makers,
donors, UN agencies, Research Institutions, Regional organizations, CSOs, private sector,
NGOs, academia etc
 Regular consultations on FSN challenges, priorities, polices etc
Limitations: Limited online outreach, mainly inward looking, discussion mainly in
workshops, limited interactions on thematic issues etc;
 The Global FNS Forum can easily plug in the existing NENA networks; can bring global
perspectives; sharing the best practices; induce online/ lively discussions etc
Thank you