Written by Jarilkasin Ilyasov
The International Forum on Eurasian Food Security (Agriculture and Nutrition) Network and Eurasian Coil Partnership was held in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan from 29 February - 2 March 2016. The conference was jointly organized by the Eurasian Center for Food Security (ECFS), the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the World Bank, the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) and the Global Forum for Agricultural Research (GFAR) to discuss and analyze current trends in food security, its governance and strategy for development in the Eurasian region. It aims at generating discussion around the most effective practices to promote and expand mutli- and cross-sectoral collaboration at country, regional and global levels. The event brought together more than 180 participants representing different NGOs, research organizations, producer and consumer unions, policy makers and members of both public and private sector from Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Moldova, Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Ukraine and others.
Prof. Sergey Shoba, Director of ECFS opened the conference by welcoming all participants. He highlighted ECFS’s vision and initiatives concerning Eurasian food and nutrition security and soil partnership. Prof. Shoba also delivered a statement made by Mr. Sergey Levin, Deputy Ministry of Agriculture of Russian Federation, addressed to conference participants in support of the cooperation in food and nutrition security in the region. H.E. Choduev Erkinbek, Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Melioration of Kyrgyz Republic, together with representatives of the World Bank (Dr. Jean-Michel Happi, the World Bank Country Manager for the Kyrgyz Republic), FAO (Dr. Dorjee Kinlay, FAO Representative in Kyrgyzstan), IFPRI (Dr. Shenggen Fan, Director General of IFPRI) and GFAR (Dr. Harry Palmier, Senior Partnerships Expert) also welcomed participants underlining importance of multi-sector and multidimensional collaboration for sustainable food and nutrition security.
Dr. Shenggen Fan gave a keynote speech on “Reshaping Food Systems for Food Security and Nutrition”, providing an overview of the state of global and regional food and nutrition security and discussing reshaping the food system to feed the world healthily and sustainably alongside meeting other development goals. He emphasized the increasing role of the global food system and its role in the economic and social development in the low-mid income countries. A new global food system is needed, which must be inclusive, nutritious and healthy, climate-smart, sustainable, business-friendly, and productive, in order to deliver multiple-win outcomes.
The conference focused on role of the local, regional and international stakeholders to promote agricultural research, food and nutrition security in Central Asia and Caucasus and highlighted major activities conducted in recent years by these players. Dr. Kamiljon Akramov of IFPRI showcased the role IFPRI and the CGIAR Research Programs on Policies, Institutions, and Markets (PIM) and Agriculture for Nutrition and Health (A4NH) have played in promoting research and capacity strengthening in the region.
Participants also discussed research priorities, perspectives of different stakeholders, transformation of agricultural research and innovations, and investment requirements for global and regional initiatives to address challenges of food and nutrition security in Central Asia and Caucasus. Importantly, conference participants rigorously discussed expansion strategies for the Eurasian Food and Nutrition Network and making agriculture, food systems and food security more nutrition sensitive.