Implementation of Sustainable Development Goals marks FAO conference’s agenda
Öykü Altuntaş – Antalya / Doğan News Agency
AA photoMinisters, delegates and civil society organizations discussed the Sustainable Development Goals (SGDs) and their impacts on agricultural and rural development in a round table meeting on May 4 during the 30th U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Regional Conference for Europe (ERC) in the southern Turkish resort town Antalya.
“Sustainable development is needed for a more peaceful and safer world,” FAO Director General José Graziano da Silva said speaking during the ERC ministerial roundtable.
He said that in 48 of 53 countries included in the FAO’s database, 55 percent of the overall adult population faced obesity or was overweight, noting that food security has become a significant problem for the European and Central Asian regions,
Da Silva also said he recently underscored the importance of food security and agriculture in his speech addressing the U.N. Security Council.
Accordingly, the upcoming Nobel Peace Laureates Alliance to be convened by the FAO will mark a starting point for food security peace talks, da Silva said.
“All people should have access to… adequate food, which is a human right,” he said, pointing to the FAO’s message that a sustainable peace could not be assured in a place struck by conflict and hunger.
In addition, Committee on World Food Security (CFS) chair Amira Gornass explained efforts to support small holders, food transformation and sustainable forestry, as well as increasing women’s empowerment within the committee.
The CFS also held a multi-stakeholder dialogue meeting on May 3 which brought 53 participants and 20 countries together. The Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure (VGGT) were at the center of the meeting, focusing on related issues in governance and the implementation of VGGT on a global basis.
Meanwhile, FAO Assistant Director-General Regional Representative Raimund Jehle introduced an FAO document on the implication of SDGs during the meeting.
“Ending hunger and poverty and ensuring the sustainability of development are at the heart of the 2030 Agenda,” according to the document.
“Ensuring access to adequate, nutritious and safe food to a growing population is one of the most difficult challenges faced by the world today. Access to productive resources – land, nutrient-rich soils and water – is threatened not only by increasing competition for the use of these scarce resources but also by adverse long-term implications of climate change,” the document read.
Jehle also emphasized the commitments of governments for agriculture, forestry and the environment, as well as food security and malnutrition.
He discussed these vital goals focusing on sustainable food production and systems, malnutrition and the implementation of trading systems, describing family farming and small holders as key dimensions in implementing the SDGs.
“FAO priorities should be aligned within country levels by governments at the national level, while global monitoring should be central,” Jehle said.
In addition, Svetlana Boincean, the International Union of Food Workers (IUF) agricultural coordinator for Eastern Europe and the Central Asia, called on the FAO and countries to “reduce gas emission and promote agroecology.”
“SDGs should provide space for young people to carry forward the knowledge from ancestors to the future,” she said adding that the priorities of the SDGs should not include only work with farmers but also fishing communities, workers and indigenous people.