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The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Regional Conference for Africa concludes with strong commitments to transform the agri-food system

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The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Regional Conference for Africa concludes with strong commitments to transform the agri-food system
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The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Regional Conference for Africa concludes with strong commitments to transform the agri-food systemThe 33rd session of the FAO Regional Conference for Africa has concluded with a strong ministerial statement calling for greater support to build resilience in African countries to climate shocks, increase cooperation for Blue Transformation to intensify African aquaculture, revival of underutilized African crops, and inclusive rural transformation.

The statement comes at the end of a three-day conference in Rabat, organized by the Kingdom of Morocco, in which 54 African delegations participated, including the Ministers of Agriculture, Livestock, Fisheries, Forestry and other relevant portfolios. Organizations and representatives from civil society, the private sector and development partners also participated.

The unanimous statement highlighted concerns about Africa’s progress towards Malabo’s food security and nutrition commitments, and the objectives underpinning the Sustainable Development Goals for food security, ending all forms of malnutrition and sustainable agriculture.

The FAO Strategic Framework 2022-2031 anchored the discussions over the three days. The framework includes the four better goals – better production, better nutrition, better environment and better lives – which provide a roadmap for FAO to support countries in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, in particular SDG 1 Zero Poverty, SDG2 None Hunger and SDG 10 Reduced inequality.

The ministers renewed their commitment to implement the four better ones. They encouraged FAO to continue to support the African Union in formulating the post-Malabo strategy and action plan, welcomed FAO’s proposal for a revitalized business model for the development of the network of FAO country offices, and called on FAO to pay special attention to transformation of agri-food systems in small island developing States, least developed countries and landlocked developing countries, and to support improved implementation of the Livestock Development Strategy for Africa.

During her closing address, FAO Deputy Director-General Maria Helena Semedo, speaking on behalf of FAO Director-General Qu Dongyu, underlined the urgency of collaborative and decisive actions needed to transform Africa’s agricultural food systems.

“We only have six years until the 2030 deadline. For a farmer, this is six annual harvests. For ministers this concerns six government budgets. Or six operational plans. We only have three opportunities to meet in this forum before the end of 2030,” she said.

“It is imperative, as we discussed at this conference, that we leverage science, innovation, digital tools and strategic partnerships to drive the transformation of agri-food systems in Africa… We must walk the talk.”

Semedo also expressed his deep gratitude to the Kingdom of Morocco for organizing the conference, and the delegations for their rich ideas, contributions and sharing of experiences. “Sharing and learning from each other is essential to uplift the entire continent and South-South cooperation is an important tool…Let us move forward with a sense of urgency and a commitment to bring about real change for better production, better nutrition and a better environment and a better life in Africa,” she concluded.

Mohammed Sadiki, Minister of Agriculture, Maritime Fisheries, Rural Development and Water and Forests of the Kingdom of Morocco and Chairman of ARC33 also thanked the delegates for the success of the conference and for continuing the agenda of transforming agri-food systems in Africa.

Over the three days, the conference also highlighted FAO’s flagship initiatives, such as the Hand-in-Hand Initiative, One Country One Priority Product, the Green Cities Initiative and 1000 Digital Villages, as valuable country-led vehicles for accelerated development.

The outcomes of the conference will inform FAO’s strategic planning in Africa for the next two years and will be submitted for consideration and approval at the FAO global conference later this year.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of the FAO Regional Office for Africa.