Regional Meeting for Near East and North Africa


Arab Regional Prep Meeting

The UN Food Systems Coordination Hub and the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA), are pleased to convene Food Systems National Convenors and other experts from across the Arab region to assess the progress made in transforming food systems, facilitate regional knowledge sharing, and identify emerging patterns and solutions.

Structure and Objectives of the Regional Meeting

The Regional Preparatory Meeting will take place on March 6 in Beirut, during the Arab Forum on Sustainable Development (AFSD) 2024. The event will assess the progress made in transforming food systems and will explore strategies for aligning food systems transformation processes with existing climate action initiatives, ensuring that our efforts to build more sustainable and resilient food systems are complementary and mutually reinforcing. The event will also focus on identifying key means of implementation, including effective governance mechanisms, financing, and monitoring frameworks to drive transformative change at the national and regional levels. The objectives of the meeting are thus:

i) Review the progress in food systems transformation, sharing challenges identified and best practices.

ii) Explore strategies for aligning food systems transformation processes with existing climate action plans.

iii) Discuss regional opportunities for food systems offered through the COP28 outcomes.

iv) Identify means of implementation for food systems transformation, including strengthening governance frameworks, improving financing mechanisms, and enhancing data and monitoring systems.

v) Foster regional collaboration and regional communities by exploring strategies for planning and coordinating future collaborative efforts among participating countries and stakeholders, emphasizing the need for continued cooperation and the setting of shared goals.

Expected Outcome

The expected outcome of the meeting is a summary report that will include the shared outcomes among participating countries and stakeholders to strengthen their collaborative efforts in the transformation of food systems. By the conclusion of the meeting, National Convenors are expected to have a clearer understanding of the progress made and challenges faced in food systems transformation. In addition, key outcomes will be presented at Special Session - Food for Thought: Unpacking UNFSS+2 Outcomes in the Arab Region and Charting the Action Plan for Resilient Food Systems Transformations during the Arab Forum on Sustainable Development (AFSD) 2024.

Participants And Registration

The regional meeting will bring together National Convenors from Arab countries, practitioners, and civil society members involved in the food systems transformation and climate action, as well as concerned regional and international organizations and academia. Selected government representatives and other participants will be sponsored based on UN Rules and Regulations to attend in-person. Participation in this event is limited to individuals who have received formal invitations.

This event is part of a series of regional Preparatory Meetings organized by the UN Food Systems Coordination Hub as a follow-up to the United Nations Food Systems (UNFSS+2) Stocktaking Moment which took place in Rome in July 20232 . These meetings are being conducted in collaboration with the UN Regional Commissions, the Regional Offices of the UN Agencies supporting the Hub, and other relevant UN and regional bodies.

This meeting is built upon the discussions held during the 2023 Arab Regional Preparatory Meeting that took place on 13 March 2023 and UNFSS+2, where Member States shared their perspectives, best practices, lessons learned, and challenges related to food systems transformation. The importance of accelerating food systems transformation for achieving sustainable development goals was emphasized during these dialogues.

This regional meeting is organized on the sidelines of the Arab Forum on Sustainable Development (AFSD) 2024. ESCWA has been cooperating with regional partners since 2014 in organizing annual sessions for the AFSD to support the regional preparations for the High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF) in New York. The AFSD 2024 will be held from 5 to 7 March 2024 in Beirut under the theme "Delivering for sustainability and peace”, covering progress made in SDG 1, 2, 13, 16, and 17. We expect the present meeting to contribute to discussions in the AFSD, particularly on the interlinkages between SDG 2 and SDG 13.