Photo by Ildar Garifulin on Unsplash
A new agreement defining the main priorities of international cooperation on food security was announced during the International Conference on Food Security (Thursday 7 – Friday 8 September).
The government of Uzbekistan hosted the conference, with technical assistance from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO).
Initiated by President Shavkat Mirziyoyev, the conference took place at the Silk Road Samarkand complex. It was attended by ministers and diplomats from more than 30 countries, as well as representatives of international organizations and financial institutions.
The participants recognized climate change, water depletion and land degradation as the main food security challenges.
The Samarkand Declaration sets the following objectives for participating countries:
- Developing agriculture in an environmentally friendly and biodiversity-promoting way, while making the best use of water resources;
- Encouraging the promotion of healthy eating habits among the public, particularly children and teenagers, through the implementation of all-encompassing nutritional initiatives in schools;
- Expanding women’s rights and opportunities in rural areas, to increase their participation in agro-food systems;
- Supporting small and family farms at a state level, increasing their access to financial support and their ability to produce and utilize natural resources.
This conference “is an important opportunity to review the state of global food security in the context of agrifood systems transformation, on the path towards achieving the 2030 Agenda and the SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals),” said Dr Qu Dongyu, Director-General of FAO, in his opening remarks to the conference.
Part of the solution, Qu said, is to “improve production and at the same time offer a sustainable supply through international trade and through smooth logistics, food availability, food accessibility, and food affordability.”
Aziz Voitov, Uzbekistan’s Minister of Agriculture, said: “Now more than ever, it’s vital to support our farmers and agribusinesses. The government is restructuring Uzbekistan’s agro-food network, and we plan to attract the world’s leading scientists to strengthen the potential of our agriculture sector and provide quality food for the population. The need to deliver new solutions and innovations around the world were discussed during the conference, and formed the basis of the Samarkand Declaration.”
Charlotte Adriaen, Ambassador Of The European Union To The Republic Of Uzbekistan, said: “This conference is about joining forces to ensure access to safe and nutritious food. The EU is working with the Ministry of Agriculture on water and irrigation projects, to ensure people in Uzbekistan have access to good, healthy food at affordable prices.
Agreements worth US$1.88 billion were signed at an Agri-Food Investment Forum on 8 September, that took place alongside the main conference. The agreements included:
- Direct investments – 24 projects worth US$857.3 m.
- Grants and funds from international financial institutions – 14 projects, totalling US$707.5 m.
- Trade agreements valued at US$319.2 m.
More than 100 companies from 26 countries participated.
Round table discussions involved 150 foreign scientists from 26 countries and 200 scientists from Uzbekistan also took place during the conference. The scientists considered the possibilities of working together on future research projects.
Source: Press Release of the Ministry of Agriculture of Uzbekistan