News

Near East and North Africa Regional Overview of Food Security and Nutrition

Post date Wednesday, 8 May, 2019 - 14:13

In The State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World 2018, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) monitors progress against targets from Sustainable Development Goal 2 (SDG 2) on ending hunger and all forms of malnutrition. In addition to this global report, FAO has published Regional Overviews of Food Security and Nutrition since 2015. The Overview of Food Security and Nutrition in the Near East and North Africa 2018 confirms trends already highlighted in 2017: Hunger is on the rise in the region as a result of conflict; child undernutrition indicators continue to improve; while overweight and obesity continue to worsen for children and adults. Beyond these numbers, this report explores the relationships between food insecurity, economic growth and rural transformation. It demonstrates that economic growth in the NENA has been slow compared to other regions, and suggests that, as advocated by the State of Food and Agriculture 2017, a territorial development approach to rural transformation can improve growth rates and generate decent employment through strengthening rural-urban linkages, improving agricultural productivity, and expanding the rural non-farm economy. The Near East and North Africa region stands in contrast to the successful development policies of East Asia that emphasized agricultural and rural development as a necessary complement to industrialization. NENA development policies have emphasized the mining and extraction industries, with little focus on the labour-intensive manufacturing sector. NENA food policies have emphasized food security policies that prioritize cereal production and the affordability of staple foods. While these policies have contributed to keeping undernourishment among the lowest in the developing countries, they have not paid sufficient attention to the broader role of agriculture in rural transformation and poverty alleviation that results from agricultural transformation, territorial development and rural infrastructure improvements. This year’s Regional Overview brings into focus how policies aimed at rural transformation can potentially lead to higher levels of agricultural production, better food security and nutrition outcomes, and reinvigorated labourintensive growth of the economy with development that seeks to connect rural and urban areas through territorial development. It also assesses how agricultural policies, focused on cereal production, availability and affordability of food as sole objectives, could negatively impact food security and nutrition outcomes and growth more generally. The ambitious goals of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development are an opportunity to reflect on current policy frameworks and consider new approaches to achieve better results in the Near East and North African region. Policy changes aimed at rural transformation are one step governments in the region can take to accelerate growth, generate employment, alleviate rural poverty and eradicate hunger and all forms of malnutrition on the way towards creating the world we want by 2030. I

Download ca3817en.pdf
PDF - 1.88 MB