FAO and CAPMAS: Food and Agriculture for sustainable development

01-07-2018 08:09 PM

Mary Fikry

FAO and CAPMAS: Food and Agriculture for sustainable development

The Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) in Egypt and the Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics (CAPMAS), in participation of the relevant cabinet ministries, held a recent awareness-raising workshop in Cairo on Transforming Food and Agriculture to Achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The workshop was conducted by experts from FAO headquarters in Rome, including Mr JeanMarc Faures, Senior Officer; Ms Kakoli Ghosh, Coordinator; Mr Michael Clark, Senior Coordinator; and Mr Yacoub Said, Global Strategy Statistician.

The opening session was attended by General Khairy Barakat, President of CAPMAS; and Mr Hussein Gadain, FAO Representative in Egypt.

Participating were representatives from the Ministry of Agriculture and Land Reclamation (MALR), Ministry of Water Resources and Irrigation (MWRI) and Ministry of Planning, Follow Up & Administrative Reform (MPFAR).

Workshop sessions tackled Egypt’s 2030 Development Strategy in relation to the United Nations’ adopted 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. They also reviewed national reports that monitor progress in achieving SDGs at the international level. Participants discussed the SDGs’ strategic framework in relation to food and agriculture, Egypt’s Country Programming Framework (CPF), and WFP’s Strategic National Framework in Egypt and capacity building activities to measure SDGs’ indicators under FAO patronage.

“The 2030 SDGs helped in monitoring and measuring the challenges facing human beings around the world. An integrated approach to achieve SDGs is the appropriate means to monitor and measure development. The Egyptian Government’s launch of the ‘Sustainable Development Strategy: Egypt’s Vision 2030’ coincides with international efforts to create an ambitious agenda for international development,” said General Khairy Barakat, President of CAPMAS during his welcoming words.

“This is where CAPMAS has a major role to play, as it provides statistics that help in monitoring the achieved progress. Such statistics require collecting high-quality data at the most appropriate time and disseminating data in a way that facilitates access by all users. We are here to identify how to monitor and measure one of the most important indicators of sustainable development: the second SDG to “end hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture,” Barakat added.

“SDGs urge countries to adopt and formulate their policies, to organise their programmes and plan their investments in ways that promote transformational change while emphasising the need for a more integrated approach to development,” said Hussein Gadain, FAO Representative in Egypt.

“This workshop is crucial in terms of better understanding the 2030 agenda and its importance to Egypt’s core activities, as well as assessing what needs to be changed. We also need to identify key opportunities in food and agriculture to accelerate progress towards achieving SDGs, and to understand the importance of partnerships in achieving Egypt’s Vision 2030,” Gadain added.

He underlined that FAO is taking the necessary measures to explore the potential of food and agriculture in supporting Egypt’s Vision 2030 and in achieving SDGs. This can be done through the Country-Programming Framework (CPF), which focuses on Egypt’s three main priorities: improving agricultural productivity, raising food security and sustainable use of agricultural resources.

“Several months ago,” said Dr Hussain Abaza, Advisor to the Minister of Planning, “the Ministry began updating Egypt’s 2030 Development Strategy, under the framework of our international commitment to meet the SDGs while emphasizing environmental, social, and economic dimensions. This week, we will start a community dialogue to update the goals and strategies of 2030.”

For his part, Dr. Alaa Zahran, Director of the National Planning Institute, indicated that the institute will hold an international conference in April 2019, entitled “Promoting Sustainable Agriculture”, based on the role of agriculture in achieving sustainable development goals.

Dr Ehab al-Essawy, Director of Food Technology Research Institute, MALR, said that the Ministry was working to develop a variety of programmes to address the lack in water resources’, challenges and limited arable land. In cooperation with several regional and international organisations, like FAO, the institute was also working to disseminate the application of good agricultural practices in order to obtain high quality crops and less water consumption.

“Currently, Egypt has a water deficit estimated at 20 billion cubic meters and suffers from water stress estimated at 134 per cent,” said Dr Eman al-Syaed, Head of Planning Sector at MWRI.

“FAO ,” she said, “has cooperated with the MWRI over more than three decades in several water management projects. Such cooperation aims at increasing water efficiency, reducing the gap between water demand and consumption, and working on the optimal use of resources, in order to comply with Egypt’s plan to achieve the SDGs.”

Discussions were conducted on the FAO Guidelines ”Food and Agriculture transition to achieve Sustainable Development Goals” and on the role of food and agriculture in poverty eradication, also on providing clean water and minimising the impact of climate change.

Workshops tackled the possibility of adapting SDGs and existing policies to the national context, and covered data collection practices, mechanisms for sharing experiences from the agriculture and water sectors and explored the challenges and opportunities for investment in agribusiness in Egypt.

Working groups were also formed to discuss how policies can be linked to food security measures, and how the SDGs can be applied through alliances and partnerships. To this end, they developed an action plan that addresses key questions, including transformational policies, needed technologies and innovations, as well as new partnerships and investments.

CAPMAS has recently released the first national statistics report on sustainable development indicators 2030, which monitors the current status of indicators that that have data. The report also highlights some of the challenges related to indicators that require further accuracy and validation.

The General Assembly of the United Nations agreed on 25 September 2015 to develop the 2030 Sustainable Development Plan. It includes 17 strategic goals and contains a universal vision calling for transformational change based on major commitments to people, the planet and to prosperity. FAO focuses on a set of goals, including the eradication of poverty in all its forms everywhere, eliminating hunger, achieving food security, improving nutrition, promoting sustainable agriculture, as well as ensuring water availability and sanitation.

Watani International

1 July 2018

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