JAKARTA – Asia-Pacific nations convened the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization (UN FAO) virtual conference recently to plan a Covid-19 response and recovery program to mitigate the impacts of the pandemic and tackle the hunger crisis.
As Covid-19 continues to threaten lives and livelihoods across many Asia-Pacific regions, it has led to setbacks in the fight to end hunger and malnutrition, the UN FAO announced.
The Asia-Pacific region is home to over half of the world’s undernourished, and in the wake of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, the number of hungry people in Southern Asia is projected to rise by nearly a third to reach 330 million by 2030, the Sustainable Development Goal deadline set by the global community to eliminate hunger and malnutrition in all its forms.
In response, government representatives from 46 FAO member states in the Asia-Pacific have convened a four-day virtual conference to closely assess the current situation of food security in the region, with specific emphasis on implications linked to the spread of the coronavirus disease and its impact on food systems across regions.
Over 400 delegates are partaking in a virtual meeting of FAO’s 35th Session of the Asia-Pacific Regional Conference hosted by the Royal Government of Bhutan.
The meeting involved government officials, private sector, civil society, academia, and technical experts in the food and agriculture sectors.
From Afghanistan and Iran in the west, across populous South and East Asia, and far out into the Pacific Islands, novels ways and approaches will be deemed necessary to trounce over the twin pandemics of Covid-19 outbreak and hunger.
Climate change is another aggravating factor menacing efforts to boost resilience across our food systems.
“We must come to terms with what is before us and recognize that the world and our region has changed. We must find new ways to move forward and ensure sustainable food security in the face of these twin pandemics as well as prepare for threats that can and will evolve in future,” Assistant Director-General and FAO Regional Representative for Asia and the Pacific Jong-Jin Kim stated.
“This virtual conference brings together people and ideas to chart a true course of action for the benefit of all,” Kim added.
The conference will highlight FAO’s recently launched comprehensive Covid-19 Response and Recovery Program designed to offer a flexible and coordinated global response targeted to ensure access to nutritious food for all. The program includes the mobilization of all forms of resources and partnerships at the country, regional, and global level.