The Near East and North Africa region must take a holistic approach to food, energy and water security issues as it prepares for the COP-27 and COP-28 climate summits which will be held in Egypt this year and in the United Arab Emirates next year, QU Dongyu, Director-General of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) said today.
Speaking at a side meeting of ministers at the 36th FAO Regional Conference for the Near East, Qu said that agrifood systems are being heavily impacted by the climate crisis and that the region of the Near East and North Africa is particularly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change.
The FAO has warned that if swift action is not taken, crop yields in the region could be reduced by 20 percent by 2050, with the greatest impacts on rain-fed farming systems, while livestock will be threatened by reduced water resources, land degradation and reduced availability of animal feed.
The Arabian Sea is among the marine areas with the highest temperature increase and rainfall reduction by the end of the century, which will greatly affect fisheries, according to the organization. The climate crisis is also a poverty multiplier and a driver of forced migration, especially in areas of social unrest.
A historic opportunity
M. Qu said the region has a "historic opportunity for transformation" in the way food is produced, distributed and consumed to make it more efficient, inclusive, resilient and sustainable. But he stressed the need for adaptability, innovation and responsible investment, including private sector participation.
Speaking at a high-level round table on the theme: "Water, energy and food in the context of COP-27 and COP-28", the Director General of the FAO said improving water productivity and building a water-efficient society as well as developing renewable energy are also key elements to help rural people improve their livelihoods and improve their livelihoods. to adapt to the climate crisis.
FAO will continue to support countries in the region to attract climate finance and implement climate-resilient innovations across agrifood systems, in particular through its Hand-in- Hand initiative and its Investment Center, he said.
Qu highlighted FAO's role in promoting increased intergovernmental dialogue through the NERC platform; help countries design their action plans and enable the development of innovation and science policies.
As the region prepares for COP-27 in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, later this year and COP-28 next year in the United Arab Emirates, Qu said countries have a “ golden opportunity to think together, design together and work together” towards the goal of achieving better production, better nutrition, a better environment and a better life for all, leaving no one behind.
Other panellists included: Youssef Nassef, Director, Adaptation Division, United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC); Mariam bint Mohammed Saeed Hareb Almheiri, Minister of Climate Change and Environment, United Arab Emirates; Jassim Abdul Aziz al-Falahi, Acting Minister of Environment, Iraq, Sherif Abdelrahim Head of Central Climate Change Department at Environmental Affairs Agency, Egypt
Going forward, FAO is exploring how the water-energy-food nexus can support food security and sustainable agriculture worldwide.