Posted on May 12, 2018

Qatar has underlined that the continuation of the intractable crisis and the unjust siege imposed on it have serious implications for security, stability and food security in the region.

This came in the speech of Abdulaziz bin Ahmed Al Malki Al Jehni, Ambassador of the State of Qatar to the Italian Republic and Qatar’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations (UN) Agencies in Rome, delivered at the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Regional Ministerial Conference for the Near East, held in Rome.

The Ambassador referred to the development programs and projects implemented by Qatar and its policies to achieve national food security and self-sufficiency. He stressed the negative effects and consequences of the unjust and unilateral siege imposed on Qatar on regional food security, calling on the Regional Ministerial Conference for the Near East and FAO to work towards ending this siege, QNA reported.

Al Jehni said that the unjust siege and the arbitrary measures imposed on Qatar without any legal or logical justification, adversely affect and even impeded the FAO’s mission to achieve world food security, adding that what the siege countries are doing is contrary to the principles and provisions of international law and the basis of friendly relations between states and human rights.

He further added that in light of the international situation, which is fraught with tensions, conflicts and the increasing challenges resulting from continuing conflicts as well as the worrying slowdown in crisis resolution, while the challenges facing the Middle East must be mutually supportive and responsive, the continuation of the intractable crisis and the unjust siege against Qatar have serious consequences not only for the security and stability of the region, but also for food security in countries of the region.

Ambassador Al Jehni explained that the serious repercussions of this fabricated crisis against Qatar are not only affecting it but also affecting many other countries of the region, which necessitates the immediate lifting of this unjust siege and the end of all arbitrary measures against Qatar and the need to adopt dialogue in resolving differences in accordance with the principles and the UN Charter, which Qatar has always called for.

The Ambassador said that the region has long suffered major challenges beyond the levels of other regions, and this situation has escalated since 2000, as the root causes of that deterioration include economic and demographic issues, population growth, migration and internal displacement as a result of long conflicts, which have affected and continues to affect many countries in the region. Al Jehni added that the agricultural production in the Middle East and North Africa region is at its lowest level, and basic food remained a priority for public spending, coupled with population growth rates that exceeded growth rates in other regions, as a result of which high rates of unemployment and migration, especially among young people and women.

The Ambassador pointed out that the unemployment rates in the Near East and North Africa are higher than in other geographical regions, particularly among young people, and this problem is particularly acute in middle-income countries, as well as in some high-income countries as indicated by FAO’s studies and statistics.

Al Jehni said that the deterioration of agricultural food production and high rates of unemployment in addition to migration in the Near East and North Africa region are not the only problems in this region, as it suffers from chronic crises such as water scarcity, desertification, climate change and growth in agriculture and industry, which for the past 35 years have been between 1.5-2 percent, the least developed ever compared to other regions.

Ambassador Al Jehni pointed out that FAO had focused its efforts and work in the past period on three initiatives, which the Regional Conference for the Near East at its last session had emphasized; water scarcity, small-scale family farming, and capacity-building to improve food security. He added that FAO is making efforts to assist countries in the region to combat plant, animal and fish pests and diseases and to manage drought with climate change, noting that FAO’s efforts are consistent with the food security committee strategy and policies that seek a hunger-free world in which countries implement the voluntary guidelines on the right to adequate food in the context of national food security.
He said that Qatar has been working actively to implement and develop a wide range of programs, projects, plans and studies aimed at developing the agriculture, livestock and fisheries sectors to address climate change and that all these plans, programs and projects prepared by the State are very important in achieving self-sufficiency and national food security, which is part of global food security.

According to the vision of Qatar, the founding conference of the Global Alliance for Drylands was held in Doha on October 15, 2017, in which 11 countries from the Near East, North Africa, the Sahel and the Arabian Gulf participated. Many countries and international organizations expressed their desire to join this alliance as full-fledged members or partners, which reflects growing international interest in the Global Drylands Alliance.

He called on all Member States, particularly the Near East and North Africa (NENA) countries, to join the Alliance, a collaborative initiative launched by the State of Qatar with the participation of a number of other countries and partners, aimed at ensuring food security for dryland countries, where Drylands account for 40 percent of the world’s surface area and are inhabited by approximately 3 billion people, of which one third depend directly on agriculture to secure their livelihoods.

Ambassador Al Malki confirmed the support of many international organizations and relevant centers of the Global Alliance for Drylands, such as FAO, WFP, IFAD, the World Bank, UNESCO and many other international and regional organizations.

He called on FAO to provide all forms of support to countries in the Near East Region through field studies, research, workshops and professional courses on all issues, particularly water and agricultural and livestock food production, desertification and sustainable development, through the FAO Regional Office in Cairo and FAO country offices in most countries of the Region, he said .

The Ambassador stressed that great responsibilities lie with this conference, which must make decisions and recommendations of great importance related to the agricultural and water situation, food and animal wealth, desertification, drought, unemployment and migration in the countries of the Region.

The most important thing is to join efforts and political will to create a healthy and stable environment to achieve professional integration among the countries of the region, to share knowledge, to benefit from other successful international experiences and to cooperate fully with FAO and other relevant UN agencies, he said, stressing that this objective will be the goal of all countries of the region to achieve serious political will and focus on investments in the sectors of agriculture, water, livestock, fish and all other sectors related to food security of the region “.

source: The Peninsula