Malabo – African countries have committed to raise their ambitions and accelerate their actions towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, including ending poverty and hunger, at the conclusion of the 32nd Session of the FAO Regional Conference for Africa.
Sixty-two Ministers from 54 African countries participated in the conference – country representation was one of the largest ever thanks to the hybrid mode, with more than half the ministers attending in person in Malabo, and the remainder joining online.
“I’m happy to see the conference has been a success. It has been a success because of our collective engagement and determination to contribute and compromise,” said FAO Director-General Qu Dongyu in his closing remarks.
Qu urged countries to adopt enabling policies, innovation and science, and proper investment for agrifood systems transformation in Africa. “We have a lot more work to do, and we must continue to work together, efficiently, effectively and coherently,” he said.
The Director-General also thanked the Government of Equatorial Guinea for hosting the conference, and the Minister of Agriculture, Livestock, Forests and Environment H.E. Francisca Eneme Efua for her strong leadership as Conference Chairperson.
Countries welcome FAO’s Four Betters
In the ministerial declaration shared today, ministers welcomed the FAO Strategic Framework 2022-2031 which shapes the organization’s work towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals under Four Betters: better production, better nutrition, a better environment, and a better life, leaving no one behind.
“We call on our partners to support our efforts through enhancing investments as we step up our efforts towards the transformation of agrifood systems through the implementation of the Four Betters,” Deputy Minister for Agriculture of Tanzania, Anthony Peter Mavunde said, reading the declaration on behalf of the Ministers.
The Ministers also affirmed the centrality of women and young people in Africa’s transformation of agrifood systems, and called on FAO to accelerate concrete actions to tackle the impacts of the climate crisis – calling it a “major threat to the African region.”
Countries meet during worsening hunger crisis
The conference was held during a particularly difficult time for Africa, with the Russia/Ukraine war causing instability to the continent’s food security, and a devastating drought in the Horn of Africa.
Close to 800 delegates participated in the four-day event, plus those following the discussions through the livestream. Participants included representatives from 34 inter-governmental organizations such as the African Union and ECOWAS, more than 30 civil society and academic organizations, and 28 private sector representatives.
Earlier in the day, the Director-General launched a set of Investment Guidelines for Youth in Agrifood Systems in Africa, together with the African Union. “These guidelines should be incorporated into your policies. Youth are the future of Africa,” he said.
The Director-General also held a series of bilateral meetings with many of the country representatives on the sidelines of the conference.
“As the son of a farming family, I always say I have rural people in my heart. I want to see agricultural and rural transformation in Africa address the multi-dimensional inequalities, between city and rural areas, between men and women, and between rich and poor. It’s a long journey. We need a life-long commitment and consistent action,” he said.