2 May 2017

ECA and FAO Inch Forward With Partnership Agreement

Addis Ababa — Representatives of the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) met in Addis Ababa on May 10, 2017 and agreed on a roadmap for the implementation of the partnership agreement signed between the two entities in January 2017.

During the meeting, which was held under the theme, "Achieving agricultural transformation in Africa," participants identified and agreed on four key programme areas including, enhancing rural entrepreneurship and employment for youth and women; addressing natural resource degradation and scarcity, conflicts and migration; ending hunger, nutrition and poverty in Africa; and effective response to climate change.

In his opening remarks ECA's chief of staff, Collen Kelapile, noted that the planning meeting was a timely endeavour to lay a strong foundation towards realizing the partnership agreement, which seeks to achieve the shared vision of a hunger-free and prosperous Africa.

Mr. Kelapile added that, "the partnership will contribute to the successful implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), with a specific focus on SDG 2 and SDG 11, which are targeting ending hunger, achieving food security, improving nutrition, promoting sustainable agriculture; as well as improving resilience, food systems and urbanization."

Patrick Kormawa, FAO Sub-Regional Coordinator for Eastern Africa and Representative to the AU and ECA, said there is need for the two institutions to take practical and urgent steps to address challenges faced by Africa's food and agriculture sector.

"As centres of excellence, ECA and FAO need to take pragmatic actions towards realizing the AU's aspirations on agriculture and food security as stipulated in Agenda 2063, and its accompanied instrument, the Malabo Declaration."

For his part, the chief of section in charge of Food Security, Agriculture, Land and Water at the ECA, Adama Ekberg Coulibaly, indicated that Africa must be cognizant of its demographic transformation and be prepared to respond to the food and nutrition demands of its people.

Commenting on the ECA-FAO partnership agreement, Mr. Coulibaly said, "In the midst of climate change and increasing global uncertainties, the two organizations must work together to respond to Africa's challenge of feeding its ever-growing population."

The four identified programme areas will act as a tool to allow technical working groups to define activities under selected strategic areas of intervention as agreed upon in the partnership agreement - notably: land, water and risk management, agribusiness, regional trade, policy support, statistics, governance and regional coordination.

The planning meeting was attended by over 20 experts and decision makers from the ECA and FAO's Global, Regional and Sub-Regional Office for Eastern Africa. The partnership agreement was signed by ECA's Acting Executive Secretary, Abdalla Hamdok and Maria Helena Semedo, FAO Deputy Director-General/Coordinator for Natural Resources in January 2017.

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