ISLAMABAD-Speakers at an international virtual seminar held here on Tuesday urged the nations to increase investment and regional cooperation for equitable land distribution and food security.

The seminar was arranged by COMSTECH Forum on Environment and Ecosystem Restoration (CFEER) on “Solutions to combat food insecurity and malnutrition in the Sahel.” 

The seminar was hosted by COMSTECH Forum on Environment and Ecosystem Restoration (CFEER) in cooperation with the Sahel Coalition based in Brussels (Belgium), Permanent Interstate Committee for Drought Control (CILSS) based in Ouagadougou (Burkina Faso), Regional Climate Centre for West Africa and Sahel -AGRHYMET based in Niamey (Niger) and Islamic Organization for Food Security (IOFS), based in Nur Sultan City, Kazakhstan. The event was held during the United Nations General Assembly Science Summit on September 26, 2022.

COMSTECH Advisor (Climate Change), Ambassador Shahid Kamal welcomed the participants of the seminar.

He said that food security is in greater interest of global community. Ambassador Kamal said that the degraded soils could no longer produce enough food.

Brussels based High Representative of the Sahel Coalition, Dr. Djime Adoum, addressed the session and suggested the nations to increase investment and regional cooperation for equitable land distribution and food security.

Policy officer of European Commission for Science, Technology and Innovation Cooperation with Africa and ASEAN countries, Dr. Vincenzo Lorusso gave a comprehensive presentation in the session on AU-EU R&I partnership on food and nutrition security and sustainable agriculture and the AU-EU innovation agenda.

COMSTECH Forum seminar highlighted the critical food security crisis in West Africa. The event coincided with the global food security summit held last week at the United Nations which was organized jointly by African Union, European Union and United States during the UN General Assembly Session in New York.

COMSTECH has signed a memorandum of cooperation with CILSS permanent interstate committee for drought control in the Sahel based in Burkina Faso.

This agreement has linked COMSTECH with its two specialized institutes – regional center in Niger and Sahel institute in Mali. Two OIC institutions – Islamic Organization for Food Security (IOFS), Kazakhstan, and Islamic World Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (ICESCO) based in Morocco are partners in this endeavor.

Ten experts, each from Benin, Burkina Faso, Chad, China, Gambia, Ghana, Mali, Niger, Pakistan and United Kingdom participated in the technical session of the seminar and gave 12 minutes long presentations on the topics addressing different dimensions of food security and malnutrition in the Sahel. 

Session was moderated by Dr. Irfan Aziz, Associate Professor, University of Karachi, Pakistan while 164 people from around the world registered themselves to attend this seminar.

The objective of the seminar was to focus on sustainable solutions to combat food insecurity and malnutrition in the Sahel. 

Major challenges of food security such as sustainable use of energy resources, using climate smart strategies, aspects related to agricultural productivity and energy-smart food chains and climate-smart agriculture that may help in ending hunger, achieving food security, improving nutrition and promoting sustainable agriculture in the Sahel region were discussed for concerted efforts to establish sustainable food systems.