09 January - 07 February
ECFS Forums

Online Consultation on Network and Partnerships

Jointly organized by ECFS and the World Bank, the objective of this online consultation is to bring together food policy experts and other stakeholders including representatives of Civil Society Organizations, NGOs, Farmers, Women and Youth associations from Eurasian region to identify Food Security and soil issues and facilitate discussions on how to tackle them, improving collaboration and cooperation in the Eurasian region. This discussion will serve as a preparatory stage for the upcoming International Conference on International Conference on Eurasian Food Security and Nutrition Network and Eurasian Soil Partnership to be held in Bishkek, February 29-March 2, 2016. This will facilitate the exchange of ideas and formulation of preliminary action plans among participants of the conference and the broader food security community. The outcomes of this e-consultation will be summarized and presented at the Bishkek Conference and will inform the future work of ECFS, as well as the process of capturing regional and national issues, challenges and priorities to be addressed in Central Asia and the Caucasus for ensuring regional food security in the context of the preparation of the third Global Conference on Agricultural Research for Development (GCARC3) co-organized by GFAR and the CGIAR.
E-Consutation moderators:
Alexei Belugin
Alexey Sorokin
Iulia Golovleva

To visit the e-consultation page, please follow the link. Registration instructions are attached below.
Comments: 1
12 Jan 2016 - 18:46

Dear Online Consultation facilitators and participants,

Let me share my views on problems, challenges and proposed responses to them in the agenda Central Asia and the Caucasus (CAC) countries.
Food security can considered as an integral part to the socio-economic development agenda of CAC countries, as it is related to economic, social, cultural, demographic and environmental issues. Being a relevant part of the economic development, food security policy is ensured by implementation of comprehensive measures aimed at adequate provision the growing population with food and nutrition through creating the necessary social, institutional, market and industrial infrastructure, increasing the productivity of food and agriculture system, i.e. producing more with less. Given this, agricultural growth through improved productivity, markets and incomes is considered to be a key contributor to national food security and nutrition. However, the agriculture in the CAC region still faces protracted problems, and some of them are implications and legacy of past decades, while others were caused by over-exploitation of natural resources, which are primarily a threat to smallholders and vulnerable population groups in terms of food security and nutrition. It should be mentioned that population growth is leading to increased food consumption and therefore to use/exploitation of even more natural resources.
In this regards, the joint efforts oriented to increase agricultural productivity, the introduction of cost-effective technologies and the diversification of agricultural production and food value chain will influence availability and access to nutritious food. In this process, quality improvement, productivity increase and cost reduction are important terms for an increase in healthy food supply especially to vulnerable groups, women and children.
Rational use of natural resources with minimal negative impact on the environment, mitigation of climate change are complex issues whose solution depends on the consistent implementation of activities not only at national but also at sub-regional, regional and global levels. It requires joint efforts to monitor and analysis of all aspects and factors of the use of natural resources: increasing agricultural productivity, reduction of operation costs, conservation of natural landscapes, maintenance of natural diversity, providing a healthy environment, preserving of ecosystems. In addition, there is a requirement for a gradual transition to international environmental standards of production and processing; establishment of a unified system of monitoring of natural resources and of environment; improvement of environmental education and training, and better disclosure of environmental conditions; coordinated activities between national authorities and international bodies and centres for environmental management, as well as implementation of environmental protection programs at global, regional and national levels.
Putting in places mechanisms of delivering nutrient-rich foods to vulnerable groups, particularly children and women is critical as well. This process can be effective if implemented as a multi-stakeholders / multi-sector interventions. The interventions may range from increasing the nutritional value and safety of relatively more available, staple foods, to increasing production and consumption of foods rich in micronutrients, particularly animal products, vegetables and fruit, through local agricultural diversification and improved market chains. For today, many programs on food supplementation and fortification have evidences of addressing undernutrition, but are rarely linked to local agricultural production which could present opportunities for agricultural improvement and sustained access to nutritional foods. Because of the critical importance of women in child nutrition, understanding and enhancing their role in the production and distribution of food at the household level must be an essential part of any strategy to reduce undernutrition.
Market driven changes, particularly in food security, should involve different institutional arrangements in generating outcomes of coordinated interventions, especially with the private sector, which play critical role in the supply of technologies, breeds and seeds, agrochemicals, veterinary products, agricultural machinery and implements, and even human nutrition.
I would like to thank the organizators of these consultations for mentioning the online discussions on "The role of Agricultural Innovation Systems in Central Asia and Caucasus countries and China towards more sustainable food security and nutrition", initiated by the Central Asia and the Caucasus Association of Agricultural Research Institutions (CACAARI) in close collaboration with the Northwest Agriculture & Forest University (NAFU) in China and supported by FAO’s Global Forum on Food Security and Nutrition in Europe and Central Asia (FSN Forum in ECA). It was discussed that given the current and emerging challenges in agriculture and food sector, an integrated, innovative approach towards more sustainable food security and nutrition system is required to strengthen cooperation among various stakeholders, to adapt new technologies, to develop natural resource management strategies, and to strengthen institutions involved in Agricultural Innovation Systems. Development of an efficient agricultural research and extension system within an agricultural innovation system with functional linkages to farmers and other actors of the agricultural sector is considered as important factor for the reorientation of the farmers in the CAC region towards markets, their income diversification, contribution to environmental protection and adaptation to climate change, and ultimately to food security and nutrition. The development of vibrant innovation systems in the region is considered as a necessary condition for enhancing agricultural productivity, while using limited natural resources more efficiently given the emerging challenges for food security and nutrition, such as population growth and climate change.
Considering above mentioned challenges and common understanding the urgent responses, Agricultural Research system in CAC sets as priority the improving long-term food security, ensuring adequate nutrition and keeping the course towards sustainable development in the context of an increasing global population and climate change. Particularly the focus and joint efforts are given on four main goals of agricultural research:

  1. Improving the well-being of the rural population, particularly vulnerable groups and those dependent on agriculture;
  2. Guaranteed improvement of the quality and quantity of nutritious food through the intensification and diversification of agriculture;
  3. Rational use of natural resources;
  4. Mitigating adverse effects of climate change.

This approach is based on participatory planning and multi-disciplinary research and work with end-users and beneficiaries to test and scale out innovations, technologies, and research methods, multi-stakeholders dialogue, and foresight mechanisms that also involve partners from the research, policy, development and civil-society sectors. It also reveals niches that need to be addressed by solid and comprehensive set of measures. For more information, please visit: http://cac-program.org.
Thank you with best wishes,
Dosov Botir
Botir Dosov, PhD
Innovation Platform Facilitator
CGIAR Research Program on Dryland Systems in Central Asia
Adviser, to
Central Asia and the Caucasus Association of Agricultural Research Institutions (CACAARI)

Regional focal point
Central Asia and the Caucasus Forum for Rural Advisory Services (CAC-FRAS)