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“Global pandemic, environmental crises hit Asian region hard”

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The global pandemic and years of environmental crises have hit the Asian region disproportionately hard, with economic progress and individual livelihoods regressed.

“In addition floods, droughts and tropical storms are badly affecting agricultural production in some parts of the region that are least resilient,” opined FAO Assistant Director-General and Regional Representative, Jong-Jin Kim, at the 37th Ministerial Session of the FAO Regional Conference for Asia and the Pacific (APRC37) in Colombo.The APRC37 is hosted by the Government of Sri Lanka.

Government Ministers and Heads of Delegation from as many as 46 FAO Member Nations have gathered in the Sri Lankan capital for the event. Meantime, hunger and other forms of malnutrition persist, with nearly 371 million people in Asia-Pacific who are undernourished. At the same time, the increasing cost of a healthy diet is leaving many families unable to afford one. “Many challenges remain to fight hunger, poverty and inequalities.”

Given the setbacks over the last two years, and the decline in progress in the fight against hunger that preceded the pandemic, it is essential to transform the region’s food systems so that they become more efficient, inclusive, resilient, and sustainable, the Conference delegates heard during today’s opening session. Governments from Asia and the Pacific gather to review lessons learned from pandemic and environmental crises and transform agrifood systems for present and future generations.

In order for FAO Member Nations to accelerate this Agrifood Systems Transformation, three pathways were proposed. First, by identifying triggers of foresight, shaping, fine-tuning, and implementing food systems transformation pathways through the process fostered by the UN Food Systems Summit 2021, and the follow-up to that Summit, the ‘Stock Taking Moment’ convened last year.

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