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34th Session of the FAO Regional Conference for Europe opens with focus on bolstering resilience of agrifood systems

While countries in Europe and Central Asia are grappling with conflict and environmental challenges, they are well positioned to pursue the sustainable transformation of agrifood systems and have already taken steps towards achieving many of the core Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), QU Dongyu, Director-General of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, said Tuesday in remarks opening the 34th Session of the Regional Conference for Europe (ERC).

FAO's aim for this week's governing body meeting is to help Members from the region localize priorities and establish collective objectives that emphasize leadership, partnership and national ownership of efforts to facilitate concrete initiatives to achieve the SDGs at home and abroad, he said.

"Globally, we are facing critical times marked by food insecurity and fading prosperity," Qu said, reiterating his advocacy for peace as a prerequisite for food security and the right to food as a basic human right.

Comprising 53 Member countries and the European Union, and spanning nine time zones from Lisbon to Vladivostok, the four-day Regional Conference is an opportunity to exchange knowledge and best practices on the most effective solutions in support of agrifood systems transformation, and to engage in discussions to identify the most suitable responses to issues such as the continuing recovery from earthquakes, flooding, the COVID-19 pandemic and the ongoing war in Ukraine, which "continues to hamper regional and global efforts to achieve the SDGs," the Director-General said.

He noted that economic growth in the region, as well as digital innovation in the agrifood sectors, are lagging the rest of the world, adding that nonetheless the potential is very high. Low levels of hunger in the region are an opportunity to make sure that farmers receive ample social support in recognition of their efforts, Qu said.

Vladimir Bolea, the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Agriculture and Food Industry of the Republic of Moldova, was elected as the Chair of the regional ministerial conference. He thanked FAO and its staff for the support provided for hosting the ERC in hybrid format at its Rome headquarters.


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