On the sidelines of his participation in the Regional Conference on Food Loss and Waste in Europe and Central Asia “Enabling the Change” held at Istanbul on October 5-6, 2022, the ECO Secretary General H.E. Ambassador Khusrav Noziri met with the Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Forestry of Tأ¼rkiye H.E. Mr. Ebubekir Gizligider and the Assistant Director General of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), Mr. Vladimir Olegovich Rakhmanin.
During the meeting with H.E. Mr. Ebubekir Gizligider, the Deputy Minister stated that Türkiye closely follows and appreciates the ECO’s efforts for expanding cooperation amongst the Member States. He said that their country is genuinely committed and interested in making due contribution for the continued development of ECO to secure an ultimate and greater regional integration. Recognizing the hunger and food security issue as a major problem, the Deputy Minister noted that the Regional Coordination Center for Food Security, an outcome of the joint efforts by Türkiye, FAO and ECO, can play a significant role and meet our perceived targets to counter regional food security issues. He welcomed the adoption of Regional Program for Food Security (RPFS) by 7th ECO Ministerial Meeting on Agriculture, adding that vigorous contribution by all Member States is required to effectively implement the RPFS. While highlighting the importance of ECO Seed Association, he looked forward to the ECO Member States and the Secretariat for ensuring successful organization of the 8th ECO Seed Fair to be held at Baku in February 2023. He stood poised to share their relevant experiences with the Member States. In addition, he emphasized that the issues appear to cross national borders and bear regional and global magnitude. ECO could be a very effective forum to deal with our common problems, the Minister expressed.
The ECO Secretary General congratulated the Deputy Minister for organizing the important Regional Conference in collaboration with the FAO. He informed that in line with its agenda, the ECO is determined to promote cooperation, especially in the wake of COVID-19, for making tangible developments in food and agriculture sector as well as addressing the food security issues in the region. Underlining the significance of Tashkent Declaration adopted by 7th Ministerial Meeting on Agriculture, he extended his sincere gratitude to the Minister of Agriculture and Forestry of Türkiye for attending the event in July this year. Moreover, the ECO Secretary General thanked the Government of Türkiye for hosting and funding the ECO Regional Coordination Center for Food Security, acknowledging the country’s role in agricultural planning and development. Besides, he underscored the need for cooperation for implementing the Regional Program for Food Security, considering it highly important to ensure smooth progress towards the Organization’s food security objectives. Furthermore, he sought Türkiye’s expertise to support the ECO Seed Association, noting that the seed policies are quite instrumental in ensuring the food security. He also looked forward to active contribution of Türkiye to address the issues and create conducive environments for unhindered working of ECO VECO and ECO ABN.
In the meeting with the Assistant Director General of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), Mr. Vladimir Olegovich Rakhmanin, the ECO Secretary General, while praising the FAO’s global efforts and activities for the development of food and agriculture, acknowledged the Organization’s support to various ECO initiatives and activities, including the FAO’s assistance for establishing the ECO Regional Coordination Center for Food Security, ECO Seed Association, ECO Veterinary Commission and ECO Center of Excellence for Efficient Water Utilization for Agriculture. Representing a region of more than half a billion population that is mostly based on agrarian economy, the ECO looks forward to FAO’s continued back up for its ongoing and future projects.
The FAO’s dignitary appeared quite receptive and ready for enhancing collaboration with ECO. He said that the FAO regards ECO as an important regional partner, reiterating their complete support to such ECO programs and projects which are aimed at creating sustainable conditions for the improvement and development of food and agriculture sector. Noting the significance of Regional Program for Food and Security (RPFS), he said that the two sides should, now, be focused on practical activities and certain dimensions to meet their envisioned targets. Considering the RPFS as a comprehensive study, he stressed the need for enhancing its visibility of RPFS at greater level. FAO attaches importance to the decentralization process with a view to empowering its Sub Regional Offices in the near future, as well as maximizing cooperation with Regional Organizations.