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The FAO's State of Food Security and Nutrition in Europe and Central Asia 2017 is now avaiable

The State of Food Security and Nutrition in Europe and Central Asia 2017

After tremendous progress in recent years in addressing food insecurity, the situation in the region appears to be stagnant. The prevalence of undernourishment remained almost unchanged in the Caucasus and Central Asia. The report includes the new Food Insecurity Experience Scale (FIES), which serves to complement the analysis of progress against SDG2 indicators on food security and nutrition. This new methodology shows that 14.3 million adults in the region suffered from severe food insecurity during the period 2014-16. Malnutrition in one or more of its three main forms – undernutrition, overnutrition and micronutrient deficiencies – is present to varying degrees in all countries. Often all three coexist in what is called the ’triple burden’ of malnutrition. Women of child-bearing age are at greater risk of anaemia, constituting an important public health problem.  Overnutrition among the adult population is another important problem on the rise. The report points to a 30 percent increase in the number of obese adults during the period from 2000 to 2014. A lack of awareness about healthy diets contributes to the increasing prevalence of overweight and obesity across the various income groups in the region.

The report features the theme: “Ensuring food security through better management of scarce and fragile natural resources in the context of climate change.” Food demand in the region is growing, consumption patterns are changing, and urbanization is accelerating. Many production systems in the region are already unsustainable and vulnerable to shocks, making future productivity gains uncertain. Achieving food security under these conditions will require sustainable increases in agricultural production, greater resilience and more efficient use of natural resources. Some of the countries in the region are among the most vulnerable to changes and variability in climate, and many are already experiencing negative impacts on their agro-ecosystems. Increased damage and losses to the crop, livestock, forestry and fisheries subsectors are already being reported. The need to reduce food losses and waste is becoming urgent.

The report notes that while many countries in the region have taken the first steps to implement the 2030 Agenda, only a few have policy frameworks that address all four pillars of food security. Some countries still lack comprehensive food security policies. In others, food security is defined more narrowly as focusing primarily on national food self-sufficiency, without considering the other dimensions of food security. Many countries are recognizing the importance of addressing nutrition issues in order to achieve food security and improve the wellbeing of their citizens. Yet, nutrition policies and programmes have had varying degrees of success and need to be combined with coordinated measures – such as social protection, rural development, and nutrition awareness programs – and focus on the underlying causes of each type of malnutrition.

The full text of the report is attached herewith, or can be accessed at:  http://www.fao.org/3/a-i8194e.pdf

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