The Islamic Organization for Food Security organized a virtual conference on July 14 to identify key challenges straining the food security systems in the OIC Member countries and find best practices of food security governance. The conference was conducted in coordination with the OIC Secretariat and the UN FSS in the framework of Food Systems Summit 2021. His Excellency, the Director-General of IOFS Mr. Yerlan Baidaulet spoke: “IOFS fully supports the notions of Global, Regional and National Food Systems Dialogues as they all are vital in advancing food security systems worldwide. We share the vision of the Summit, which is called “People’s Summit” and is dedicated to Sustainable Solutions that will require actions to make the world's food systems more advanced and resilient to global challenges.”
The COVID-19 crisis severely intensified the state of global food insecurity, exposing the vulnerabilities of the food systems worldwide. When it comes to the food systems in the OIC countries, it should be noted that conflicts, extreme weather conditions, poor economy, diseases and lack of adequate infrastructure have already overburdened them enough. The pandemic was another major blow that made their state of food security extremely fragile. Approximately 176 million people suffer from acute hunger and malnutrition, constituting 10.5% of the OIC population. Much of that population is also dependent on agriculture for their livelihoods. Even though the agricultural productivity significantly improved over the last decade, it struggles to keep up with their growing populations.
In order to find a comprehensive solution to the problem, it is essential to take into consideration the following aspects: governance of food security, management of food supply chains, promotion of agricultural development and national food system dialogues. The first session of the IOFS conference addressed the development of coherent policy and legal frameworks and coordination of intra- and inter-governmental actions, monitoring and evaluation mechanisms. Next, the member states shared their experience of arranging National Dialogues and discussed the organizational processes and involvement of a wide variety of stakeholders. The maintenance of stable food supply chains and food imports; manufacturing, retail and logistics; technology trends in food supply chains, including digitalization of distribution and procurement systems were covered in the third session. Finally yet importantly, the conference focused on the governmental support of farmer livelihoods and employment of smart technology in agriculture.
As a result of the conference, the experience and knowledge presented formed the foundation of the policy recommendations on building Sustainable Food Systems that are now to be shared with the governments of the OIC member states and international partners.
The Conference was attended by the government officials from various national agencies (Ministries of Agriculture; Food Security; Environment; Rural Development; Infrastructure; Emergency; Economy and Planning, Commerce and Business Development) of OIC Member countries, representatives of international and regional organizations, research entities, academia, private sector and civil society.
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