Baghdad-20 September 2020 – H.E. the Minister of Planning - Dr. Khalid Batal Najim Abdullah and the Representative of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations in Iraq - Dr. Salah ElHajj Hassan discussed FAO’s programs and support to rural livelihoods and collaborative efforts with national institutions to strengthen sustainable agriculture with a focus on enhancing food security and improving the productivity of main crops in Iraq. During the meeting, FAO also discussed H.E. participation in the FAO’s Regional Conference for the Near East and North Africa (NERC 35) that is being conducted virtually this year on September 21st & 22nd under the theme “Transforming Food Systems to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals”.
“FAO’s efforts are further needed to positively impact the future of rural communities of Iraq”, said H.E. Dr. Abdullah – Minister of Planning. “FAO has been a valued partner to the Government of Iraq through targeted technical and policy support, and by addressing the most pressing priorities of the agriculture sector and food security of Iraq.” Moreover, H.E Dr. Abdullah praised FAO’s role in monitoring the impact of COVID-19 on agriculture production, availability and access to food. He confirmed the need to develop an action plan to help the implementation of the Food Security Strategy.
Dr. ElHajj Hassan, FAO Representative in Iraq briefed H.E. that FAO is currently implementing a number of strategic programs across Iraq through funds received from the European Union; focusing on the rehabilitation of agriculture and water infrastructure in liberated areas and strengthening value chains for major crops in an effort to improve agricultural productivity and rural livelihoods and support Iraqi produce.
Dr. ElHajj Hassan also highlighted that FAO supports the Government through institutional capacity building to strengthen quarantine and control measures of endemic and transboundary animal diseases funded by the US Defense Threat Reduction Agency. In light of the current challenges in climatic conditions, and funded by the Government of Japan and the Global Environment Facility, FAO is also introducing renewable energy sources as means for sustainable food production and supporting climate change resilient agriculture practices.
The Ministry of Planning and FAO agreed to work on an Action Plan that helps implement main priorities from the Food Security Strategy in full coordination with the Ministry of Agriculture and the Inter-Ministerial Committee on Food Security.
Lubna AlTarabishi Lubna.AlTarabishi@fao.org