University World News reports, Egypt’s COP27 Presidency and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) launched the Food and Agriculture for Sustainable Transformation (FAST) initiative to transform agrifood systems with the aim of improving food security in the world’s most vulnerable communities.
The FAST initiative was launched by El Sayyed Al Quseir, Egypt’s agriculture and land reclamation minister, as part of the activities of ‘Agriculture and Adaptation Day’ held on the sidelines of the 27th session of the United Nations Conference on Climate Change (COP27) which took place in the Egyptian Red Sea city of Sharm El-Sheikh from 6 to 20 November.
UNESCO Science Prize laureate, Atta-ur-Rahman, the former coordinator general of the Standing Committee on Scientific and Technological Cooperation of the 57 member states of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, which has 22 African member countries, told University World News: “It is strongly recommended that the FAST initiative should closely collaborate with FaST, or Farm Sustainability Tool, launched in the European Union to prevent duplication and avoid ‘reinventing the wheel’, and the organisations can work together to achieve common goals and objectives in their respective regions”. FaST is an EU-supported digital service platform where capabilities for agriculture are made available to farmers, EU member state agencies, farm advisers and researchers.
Professor Ahmed Attia, the head of faculty affairs at the faculty of medical technology at the University of Tripoli in Libya, told University World News that the FAST initiative must help universities across the world to establish institutes or centres of food security and the environment to help governments to identify the current challenges, review the food insecurity problems from different perspectives and propose ways or solutions to address the problems of food systems and the challenge of feeding the exponentially growing population.
Besides enhancing countries’ capacities to identify and increase access to climate finance and investment, the priorities for FAST also include supporting knowledge and capacity-building, as well as developing policy support and dialogue. In addition, the FAST initiative will focus on ensuring that agrifood systems are fully embedded and given the necessary priority and importance in climate change policies. It has also been suggested that, in the context of the FAST initiative, universities in Africa should revise, adapt, and expand their curricula to build adequate skills to fill the gaps between skills and needed jobs.
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