The Qatar National Food Security Programme (QNFSP) has called for the establishment of a “global dry land alliance” (GDLA) at the 66th session of the United Nations General Assembly held recently in New York.
Fahad al-Attiya, chairman, QNFSP, spoke at a high-level meeting entitled “Addressing desertification, land degradation and drought in the context of sustainable development and poverty eradication,” which was hosted by the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD).
He noted that Qatar now is proposing that a group of dry land countries at various stages of development join together in forming an alliance.
The alliance would be a collaborative undertaking by dry land countries most severely affected by challenges to food security and committed to investing in new responses.
New research and innovation supported by the alliance would be targeted to the specific conditions of the members; the knowledge and best practices thus developed could then be shared more broadly with dry land countries around the world.
The alliance members would be dry land countries with common challenges, and it would be open to partnerships with all countries and multilateral
Al-Attiya urged that the international community must confront the urgent problems of desertification, land degradation and drought, with a collective effort.
“These are among the most important issues the world faces today, and they affect the livelihoods and the future of more than 2bn people who live on the 40% of the world’s land that is classified as arid or semi-arid,” he explained.
Al-Attiya also called on the international community to renew its commitment to combat desertification and land degradation, and to increase the resilience of countries faced with natural droughts.
He noted that Qatar supports the implementation of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification to help countries severely affected by desertification.
On a national level and within international institutions, Qatar has placed a high priority on improving food security, al-Attiya explained to the other participants at the high-level meeting.
In this connection, the QNFSP chairman drew attention to Qatar’s efforts to work with other countries in pursuing food security objectives.
Al-Attiya also had a meeting with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and briefed him on the progress of the GDLA since the side-event that was hosted by QNFSP last year at the 65th session of General Assembly.
Al-Attiya briefed the secretary general that Qatar would be hosting a summit in Doha focusing on the issue of food security in the dry lands.
QNFSP is working closely with members of the secretary general’s high-level task force on food security to develop further the concept of the GDLA.
Al-Attiya also stated that QNFSP is exploring dedicated innovative financing mechanisms such as UNITAID to provide stable and sustainable financing for food security issues and the GDLA.
Ki-moon expressed his gratitude to QNFSP for its on-going efforts to address food security issues, both on a national and international scale.
He stated that the situation in the Horn of Africa is a prime example for the needed increase in global agricultural output.
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