GDNet Participates in the Food Secure Arab World Conference

By Maya Madkour, GDNet

Development practitioners, researchers and policy-makers from the world over convened early February in Beirut, Lebanon to come up with a roadmap for creating a healthy, secure Arab World, free from hunger. Working together to translate research into policy, participants came from a variety of different backgrounds; and of course, GDNet was there.

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The Food Secure Arab World Conference, organized by the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) and the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (UN-ESCWA), called for better policy implementation,  regional knowledge platforms pooling local knowledge, and collaborating with local and international partners on food, nutrition, and water security issues.

Capitalizing on the Arab Awakening, and bringing about long-lasting change were deemed priorities. Managing sociopolitical transformation, creating jobs, and investing in education, health and nutrition are some of the signposts along the winding road to sustainable development.

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We had a lot to say, too. Discussing food security policy from an international perspective, we highlighted the importance of understanding knowledge barriers, and the local context, when formulating policy; and advocating research uptake for a better-informed policy implementation process.

The Conference was seen as a huge success by participants. Policy and research priorities were discussed, where most agreed about what constituted a high priority food security issue for the Arab populace. A regional, country-specific, strategy was put forward, and policy recommendations were made. A strategy developed by civil society, NGOs, governments, and the private sector, and governed, and inspired by, policy research.

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