UN: Morocco, Israel organize high-level conference on food security and innovative agriculture

Moroccan Ambassador to the UN, Omar Hilale, and Israel’s Ambassador to the United Nations, Gilad Erdan, co-chaired a high-level virtual conference on Thursday on “Planting for the Future: Food Security and innovative agriculture ”. Co-organized by the Permanent Missions of Morocco and Israel to the UN, the meeting took place on the sidelines of the 54th session of the United Nations Commission on Population and Development. This event, which also coincided with the celebration of International Mother Earth Day, was marked by an important participation of the ambassadors of several countries representing the different geographical regions, of the Special Envoy of the Secretary-General of the United Nations for the Food Systems Summit 2021, Agnes Kalibata, the Director of the Israel Agency for International Development (MASHAV), Eynat Shlein, and the Director General of the Moroccan Agency for International Cooperation (AMCI), Mohamed Methqal. Speaking on this occasion, the Moroccan ambassador to the UN noted that this Moroccan-Israeli initiative testifies to the driving role that cooperation can play in the field of sustainable agriculture, climate change, management of water, renewable energies and trade cooperation, among others various crucial dimensions of sustainable development. “As we prepare for the Food Systems Summit next September, now is the time to work on strong partnerships and accelerate much needed action,” said Hilale. “In fact, if there is one lesson we can learn from the global COVID-19 crisis, it would be to turn it into an opportunity to rebalance and transform our food systems and plant for the future,” he said. he said. In this regard, the Ambassador pointed out that in Morocco, under the visionary leadership of His Majesty King Mohammed VI, agricultural science has acquired enormous potential and has increased the yields of farmers, large and small, to produce more. of food with less water and energy. He also cited the Green Morocco Plan, a national agricultural strategy launched in 2008 that has helped boost agriculture and make it the main engine of growth in the national economy, creating jobs and reducing poverty. “Morocco’s vision in the field of agriculture aims to ensure national food self-sufficiency and opens the possibility of exporting quality agricultural products to the world,” said Ambassador Hilale. And to underline in this sense that Morocco and Israel have agreed to cooperate in different sectors, including the food industry, applied research in industry, green technologies and renewable energies, which can all contribute to intensify existing initiatives, and benefit a wide range of countries, particularly in Africa, in the field of agriculture and agro-industry. For his part, the Israeli Ambassador to the UN, Gilad Erdan, noted that the year 2020 “has taught us the urgency and the importance of bringing up the issue of food security, and the technologies that will help us achieve this important goal, which is a top global priority ”. In this regard, he said that Israel was proud to present at the United Nations level a resolution on agricultural technologies for sustainable development. This resolution, he explained, will help focus the world’s attention on technologies that can help developing countries reliably feed their own people and, in so doing, help them advance in many areas. other areas of development. Referring to the Food Systems Summit convened next September by the UN Secretary-General as part of the Decade of Action to Achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, the diplomat said the Summit will reinforce the important message that “ we must all work together to completely transform the way the world produces, consumes and thinks about food ”. For her part, the Special Envoy of the UN Secretary General for the Food Systems Summit 2021, Agnes Kalibata, congratulated the permanent missions of Morocco and Israel for the organization of this event which coincides with Earth Day. “Morocco and Israel are living examples of what innovation can achieve in the agricultural sector,” said Ms. Kalibata, who also praised in this regard the various initiatives and cooperation action of the Kingdom in favor of the countries of the African continent, in particular through the Initiative for the Adaptation of African Agriculture (AAA), launched by Morocco upstream of the COP22, and which aims to reduce the vulnerability of Africa and its agriculture to climate change. Referring to the 2021 Food Systems Summit, Ms. Kalibata noted that this theme remains closely linked to all the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), stressing that this world summit will mark a turning point for the achievement of the SDGs. For her part, the Director of the Israel International Development Agency, Eynat Shlein, noted that as the world faces rampant food insecurity, exacerbated by climate change and other environmental problems, it is more essential than ever to adopt a new approach to agriculture. In this regard, she noted the importance of opting for new modern and efficient farming techniques, as well as for better management of soils and water resources. Ms. Shlein expressed Israel’s readiness to share its expertise and experience in this area, especially with African countries, citing in this regard the assistance provided by her country last year to Ethiopia in the fight against Desert Locust epidemic through the use of drones to track them down and better target them with pesticide treatments. For his part, the Director General of AMCI, Mohamed Methqal, recalled that agriculture is an important sector for Morocco, in the sense that it accounts for nearly 40 pc of the national GDP. He also stressed the importance of South-South cooperation, erected by His Majesty King Mohammed VI as a major pillar of the Kingdom’s foreign policy. To contribute to this effort, AMCI has entered into multiple partnerships with some 170 partner countries, particularly in the sectors of agriculture, irrigation and water management, he said. The agency also conducts technical training programs in the agricultural sector as well as capacity building programs within the framework of triangular cooperation, added Mr. Methqal. Speaking on this occasion, several ambassadors of United Nations member countries, representing in particular the African and American continents, commended Morocco and Israel for this initiative and for their leadership on the crucial issue of agriculture and security. food, in particular for the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals. They also welcomed the level of cooperation between their respective countries and the Kingdom of Morocco, whose action and initiatives in favor of the countries of the African continent and of the South were praised and welcomed at length on this occasion.