2022 is just started and it’s an understatement to say that 2021 has been a difficult year. Whether because of the unrelenting COVID-19 pandemic, an increase in extreme weather events due to climate change, or mounting threats to our ecosystems.
In the last two months still many FAO events occurred in a virtual setting and in addition to the conferences many initiatives started to reduce extreme poverty, eliminate hunger, improve nutrition, increase agricultural productivity and rural living standards and contribute to global economic growth.
One of the main events was the 49th Session of the Committee on World Food Security (CFS) which was held virtually from 11 to 14 October 2021.
Organized shortly after the United Nations Food Systems Summit, CFS 49 focused on the 2021 State of Food Security and Nutrition report, uptake of the CFS Voluntary Guidelines on Food Systems and Nutrition, CFS Mutli-Year Programme of Work and other ongoing CFS workstreams and priorities.
The virtual conference had 887 registered participants coming from 128 different countries around the world, including representatives from governments, research and academia, NGOs, finance institutions, civil society, practitioners and famers’ associations and 21 renowned speakers, including Ministers, Ambassadors and FAO Permanent Representatives offered their remarks and responses on the state of the world’s land and water resources for food and agriculture.
Among the statements the Committee took note of the CFS Voluntary Guidelines on Gender Equality and Women’s and Girl’s Empowerment in the context of Food Security and Nutrition and Promoting Youth Engagement and Employment in Agriculture and Food Systems.
In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Global Symposium on Salt-affected Soils (GSAS21) “Halt soil salinization, boost soil productivity” was also held in a virtual format from 20 to 22 October 2021.
There are naturally saline or sodic soils, which harbor valuable ecosystems, and include a range of plants that are adapted to extreme conditions. However, secondary salinity and sodicity can develop or increase rapidly in response to unsustainable human activities, posing a threat to agricultural production, food security, the provision of essential ecosystem services as well as the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Salinization and sodification of soils are among the most serious global threats to arid and semi-arid regions but also for croplands in coastal regions and in case of irrigation with wastewater in any climate.
The main objectives of the Symposium are to share knowledge on salinity prevention, management, and adaptation and to establish critical connections between science, practice, and policy by facilitating discussion among policy makers, food producers, scientists, and practitioners for sustainable management of salt-affected soils.
In addition I also attended The State of the World’s Land and Water Resources for Food and Agriculture: Systems at breaking point (SOLAW 2021)” which took place on 9 December 2021
with a consultation for the development of the CFS Voluntary Guidelines on Gender Equality and Women’s and Girls’ Empowerment in the Context of Food Security and Nutrition.
For decades, farmers, workers, indigenous peoples, women, youth, and all other marginalized and oppressed sectors opposed and resisted WTO’s trade rules and conditionalities. As it continues to wreak havoc on people’s lives and livelihoods in the global South, discontent has grown to greater and wider resistance. Every WTO ministerial conference was met with massive protest actions by people’s organizations and social movements from Seattle (1999) to Cancun (2003), Hongkong (2005), Bali (2013), and Buenos Aires (2017).
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