The Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN launched its new comprehensive COVID-19 Response and Recovery Programme to prevent a global food emergency during and after the COVID-19 outbreak.
The recovery programme was launched during a virtual dialogue titled “Joint action on COVID-19: Boosting our food and agricultural response“.
The event was organised by FAO in order to provide an agile and coordinated response that ensures access to nutritious food for all.
In line with the UN approach to “build back better” post-COVID-19, and in pursuit of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the new response and recovery programme aims to mitigate the immediate impacts of the Coronavirus outbreak while strengthening the long-term resilience of food systems as well as livelihoods.
“We cannot employ a ‘business as usual’ approach anymore,” highlighted FAO Director-General QU Dongyu in his opening remarks, adding that “We must work very hard to limit COVID-19’s damaging effects on food security and nutrition. We need to be more country-driven, innovative and work closely hand in hand. This is how FAO has built its COVID-19 comprehensive response and recovery programme, and today we are asking you to join us.”
Besides being a public concern, the COVID-19 outbreak can also threaten global food security.
According to the World Bank’s predictions, the pandemic’s economic fallout may push nearly 49 million people into extreme poverty.
Soaring joblessness rates, income losses and rising food prices are jeopardizing food access and would have long-term effects on food security.
7 Key Priority Response Areas
To minimise COVID-19’s damaging effects on food security and nutrition, the UN food agency has called for immediate action in 7 key priority areas:
1. Reinforce a Global Humanitarian Response Plan for COVID-19
2. Improve Data for Decision-making
3. Ensure Economic Inclusion and Social Protection to Reduce Poverty
4. Bolster Trade and Food Safety Standards
5. Boost Smallholder Resilience for Recovery
6. Prevent the Next Zoonotic Pandemic through a strengthened One Health Approach
7. Trigger Food Systems Transformation
In response to the current emergency, FAO is also working on convening multiple stakeholders in a call to action, gathering and analyzing data and providing prompt technical advice and capacity development across several disciplines.