Outcomes of the International Forum in Bishkek

International Forum on Eurasian Food Security and Nutrition Network and Eurasian Soil Partnership successfully concluded

International Forum on Eurasian Food Security and Nutrition Network and Eurasian Soil Partnership  - jointly organized by the Eurasian Center for Food Security (ECFS), the World Bank, Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) and Global Forum for Agricultural Research (GFAR)  - successfully concluded on March 2rd, 2016, after two and a half days of fruitful discussions focused on key aspects of food security from the development of effective food systems to climate change and gender
Outcomes of the International Forum in Bishkek
Photo : © ECFS
The Forum was organized in an effort to bring together experts and policy-makers working in the Eurasian region to discuss food security and nutrition challenges and to identify major avenues for regional cooperation through the Eurasian Network for Food Security and Nutrition.

The total number of registered participants was over 180 representing countries of the Eurasian Region, and international and regional organizations. Sergey Shoba, the chair of the Forum and the Director of ECFS, underlined in his opening remarks the benefits of international collaboration between food security experts and policy makers. Dr. Shoba invited the participants to become active members of the Eurasian Food Security and Nutrition Network for (EAFSNN), where ECFS will serve as a Secretariat. The Network would encompass experts from the countries of the focus region and international organizations.

ECFS –institution established by the Russian Government initiative to respond to the Global Food Prices crises of 2008– is aiming to solidify relationships with the partners in the region to expand and strengthen the joint efforts to combat food security and nutrition challenges in the region. The EAFSNN would serve as a platform to further expand and strengthen collaboration and to fill in the existing gaps in the regional knowledge sharing.
To better understand how to strengthen cooperation, participants during the Forum discussed in great details current state of food security systems, the role and place of nutrition in such systems, and current global governance and cooperation trends aimed to address food security and nutrition challenges. Shenggen Fan, Director General, IFPRI, and Forum keynote speaker, discussed with the participants about “Reshaping Food Systems for Food Security and Nutrition” challenging the audience to rethink current food security risks and trends while explaining how Eurasian region fits in into the current and future global food systems. He concluded by proposing to combine global and regional efforts to drive the comprehensive approach in redesigning modern food systems to have them better address Sustainable (Global) Development Goals (SDGs); respond to various shocks (such as climate change, water stresses, diseases) and battle the “triple burden” of food insecurity the World is currently facing.

During the Regional Central Asia and Southern Caucasus (CAC) consultations under the Global Conference on Agricultural Research for Development (GCARD3) 2015-2016, co-sponsored by the Forum organizers and held as part of the Forum on February 29th, the participants received the opportunity to brainstorm ideas that would help meet Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in the Eurasian region. The consultations aimed at capturing the views and perspectives of all national agricultural research and innovations systems stakeholders regarding research needs and priorities, existing challenges and opportunities to be addressed at national and regional levels for achieving SDGs.

Furthermore, the Forum served as a platform for the Eurasian Soil Partnership (EASP) Plenary meeting, where representatives of 13 Eurasian countries and international organizations, such as ICARDA, ICBA, CIMMYT, and GIZ identified barriers and shortcomings, which skid the implementation of sustainable soil management practices in the region.

The Forum concluded with two field trips to the Bishkek region Farms, where the participants were able to observe implementation of new agricultural technologies to the farming practices and to hear directly from the farmers about their experience with and the need for systematic knowledge sharing and multi-stakeholder collaboration.
At the end of the two-and-a-half-day event, Forum participants were able to pinpoint pathways for cooperation and collaboration through the EAFSNN and EASP.

Working together to improve regional data collection, applying comprehensive knowledge, and setting up strong information systems, members of the EAFSNN would aim to improve food security and nutrition in the Eurasian region. ECFS agreed to “further serve as a platform for cooperation and information exchange to progressively develop the Eurasian Network on Food Security and Nutrition”.

According to the final communique, supported by the Forum participants, the EAFSNN would be based on the following thematic components identified for the purposes of the network’s operations efficiency:
•           Balanced nutrition and healthy diet
•           Sustainable use of natural resources
•           Political, social and economic aspects of food security
•           Impact of climate change on resilience and sustainability of agricultural systems
•           The role of gender and youth in achieving food security
At the parallel session, the attendees of the EASP Plenary meeting agreed to strengthen regional collaboration and knowledge sharing to overcome identified challenges using EASP as a hub for such collaboration.
Finally, the Forum participants agreed that for the benefit of the Network and to strengthen collaboration in the region, the Forum is to be held annually.

Additional information, including Forum presentations could be found here. If you have difficulty accessing the materials, please, contact us at info@ecfs.msu.ru 
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Comments: 1
24 Apr 2016 - 15:56

Forum covered all aspects of food security from production challenges to access to food issues. Production challenges focussed on two main issues like soil management and climate change. Debates on the soil mangement helped in enhancing soil management challenges. 
A Network (EAFSNN) was made to focus on the follow-up actions. There is a need to go beyond geographic bounaries and share and learn from other networks working on food security issues.

Dr Shahid Zia