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During the 33rd session of FAO Regional Conference for the Near East - FAO and CIHEAM plant the seeds of food sustainability in the Near East and North Africa Region

Rome, 11 May 2016

“Planting the seeds of sustainability: from production to consumption in the Near East and North Africa Region,” was held in Rome during the 33rd session of FAO Regional Conference for the Near East and was co-hosted by FAO and the International Centre for Advanced Mediterranean Agronomic Studies (CIHEAM).

This event brought together senior officers from the member countries in the region, as well as representatives from observer countries, U.N. agencies, civil society and the private sector to discuss how to more effectively integrate production and consumption to better support countries’ efforts to achieve greater food security.

Abdessalam Ould Ahmed, FAO Assistant Director-General and Regional Representative for the Near East and North Africa Region, said that “Sustainable food and agriculture is at the heart of FAO’s efforts to sustainably increase the provision of goods and services from agriculture, forestry and fisheries, reducing food losses and waste, and promoting healthier and sustainable dietary patterns”. He added: “The Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris agreement on Climate Change call for a new approach linking policies, programmes, partnerships and investments in an inclusive way.” 

As for Cosimo Lacirignola, Secretary-General of CIHEAM: “…The Mediterranean diet is a lever to improve the sustainability of food systems and consumption patterns in the Mediterranean region. It links consumption with production of traditional and typical products on which it is based. The rich panel from FAO, government representatives and academia, discussed how can the natural resource base be preserved while increasing agricultural production, improved livelihoods of rural households, and move towards sustainable agriculture.”

They called for strengthening capacities of farmers, and ensuring an enabling policy environment, a multi-sector, multi-stakeholder approach, encouraging synergies as countries’ efforts towards sustainable production and consumption, in addition to considering the Mediterranean diet as one of the diets that promote sustainable food production.

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