The United Nations and European Union have called for pragmatic actions to strengthen resilient agri-food systems in Somalia, saying urgent actions are needed to address the challenges and the negative impacts associated with malnutrition in Somalia, which has some of the highest rates of malnutrition globally.
“In addition, global crises such as COVID-19, the climate emergency, pollution, biodiversity loss, conflict and other disasters are revealing significant risks and vulnerabilities in Somalia’s food system, posing an existential threat to both humans and ecosystems alike,” the two bodies said in a joint statement issued in Mogadishu on Friday.
Ahead of the 2021 United Nations Food Systems Summit convened in September by United Nations Secretary General, Antonio Guterres, the Somali Federal Government in cooperation with the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), European Union (EU), and the French Research Center for Agricultural Development (CIRAD) conducted a stakeholders consultation workshop on the assessment of food systems.
Over 60 stakeholders representing the government, civil society, the private sector, academia and non-governmental organizations gathered virtually on September 14 in Mogadishu, and Hargeisa on September 16 for Stakeholders Consultation Workshop discussions.
Etienne Peterschmitt, FAO Country Representative for Somalia said during the consultation workshop that finding practical solutions to specific problems in Somalia’s food systems not only requires comprehension of the linkages between system components but also governance structures capable of addressing trade-offs between food system outcomes and sustainability.
“Looking at the Somalia context, food systems are critical to address the needs of the population to eat safe food, adopt a healthy diet and reduce food insecurity and malnutrition,” said European Union program manager Luca Pagliara.
According to the UN, the consultation workshops are a step in promoting this sustainable and inclusive transformation of such food systems. Stakeholders identified key constraints and entry points for innovative policy and investment solutions for the transformation of sustainable food systems.
The evidence and knowledge gathered will be summarized in a Food Systems Assessment Report and Policy Brief that will advance the national dialogues on food systems, and feed into policies, plans and programs shaping the food systems development in Somalia and Somaliland. The findings will also inform the high-level United Nations Food System Summit in September 2021, in view of guiding future action under the global food systems transformation agenda.