International Symposium on Food Security and Nutrition

A new step towards closer collaboration between Québec and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations

Québec City, September 27th 2017 – The Government of Québec and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) draw a positive assessment of the International Symposium "Food Security and Nutrition in the Age of Climate Change" and see a positive future for their collaboration. The Symposium took place at the Québec City Convention Center from September 24thto 27th and permitted, for the first time, to deepen the link between climate change and nutrition.

Minister of International Relations and La Francophonie, Christine St-Pierre at the International Symposium on Food Security and Nutrition in the Age of Climate Change.
Minister of International Relations and La Francophonie, Christine St-Pierre at the International Symposium on Food Security and Nutrition in the Age of Climate Change. Photo credit: Éric Labonté

This Symposium is held in a context where, after a steady decline over more than a decade, world hunger is on the rise again, as shown by the latest data from the UN report on the state of food security and nutrition in the world.

At the opening of the Sympsosium, a meeting between the Premier of Québec, Philippe Couillard, and the Deputy Director-General for Climate and Natural Resources, Maria Helena Semedo, laid the groundwork for a closer collaboration. Some of the announcements made during the Symposium included:

  • the creation of a community of practice, coordinated by the Québec Governement Office in Dakar, which will bring together six international cooperation agencies from Québec working in West Africa and the FAO representation in Senegal. This network is an innovative way to ensure closer dialogue and collaboration in the region, needs that have been expressed on numerous occasions by international cooperation agencies;
  • Québec's will to support Phase II of the FAO's "Integration of Agriculture into National Adaptation Plans" program in target Francophone developing countries to assist them in the implementation of their national climate change adaptation strategies.

During four days, various workshops and plenary sessions helped establish and define the key links between food security, nutrition and climate change. The discussions also helped identified concrete and multisectoral solutions to adapt agro-food systems to the effects of climate change and to mitigate greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from these systems.

Speakers from diverse backgrounds and young people involved in these issues have highlighted certain issues specific to regions more vulnerable to the effects of climate change, including West Africa and the Far North. Examples of innovation at the service of food security shown during the Symposium included: innovative models of agricultural systems; women-led initiatives in West Africa to improve food systems; and greenhouse projects in northern communities to encourage the production of low-cost, fresh and local products. The discussions at the Colloquium also allowed the sharing of best practices around the world in order to foster ideas and improve our overall response to climate change.

The Minister of International Relations and La Francophonie, Christine St-Pierre, also took the opportunity to announce a financial support of $ 2.5 million for several Québec Government initiatives in the field of international solidarity for projects directly related to the themes of the Symposium.

Another signing was a Memorandum of Understanding between the FAO and Université Laval to promote the sharing of inter-institutional knowledge to improve food security and nutrition through the fight against climate change and ways to adapt to its evolution.

The main conclusions and solutions of the Symposium will be published in a publication of the FAO, produced in collaboration with the Government of Québec.

Quotes:

« Food security, nutrition and climate change are among the major challenges of our time. It is an honor for Québec to have obtained the collaboration of the FAO to organize this Symposium, which has enabled us to strengthen the international dialogue on these issues and to rethink our ways of responding to the challenges we will have to face in the coming decades. Québec is already recognized as a leader in the fight against climate change, and wants to take part more than ever in this global reflection on food security and nutrition. This Symposium is the starting point of new avenues of collaboration with the FAO and a lever to enrich our mutual action against climate change and ensure the food security of citizens of all horizons. »

Christine St-Pierre, Minister of International Relations and La Francophonie

« After a long period of decline, hunger is on the rise again in the world and climate change is amplifying the phenomenon by acting directly on the determinants of malnutrition. This Symposium has demonstrated that combating malnutrition and adapting to the impacts of climate change go hand in hand. Investments that guarantee resilient food systems in the face of climate challenges are now essential. It is our duty to bring this message to the 23rd United Nations Conference on Climate Change (COP 23) in Bonn in a few weeks »

Maria Helena Semedo, Deputy Director-General Climate & Natural Resources, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO)

Highlights

  • The Symposium was announced following a meeting between the Premier of Québec, Philippe Couillard, and the Director-General of the FAO, José Graziano da Silva, at the 22nd Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in Morocco in November 2016.
  • Some 225 participants attended the Symposium. Among them, nearly 70 recognized speakers in their community spoke.
  • The Symposium was designed to include youth, women, farmers, and people of Aboriginal origin and to provide them a platform to exchange ideas and good practices, since they often are the first to be affected by effects of climate change.
  • The International Youth Offices of Québec (Les Offices jeunesse internationaux du Québec) have enabled 24 young international experts to participate in the Symposium.
  • Several eco-responsible initiatives have been put in place to organize the Symposium. For example, the badges were printed on handmade paper in which basil seeds were inserted, and particular attention was paid to food waste and the purchase of local products.

Related links:

www.mri.gouv.qc.ca/colloquesan.

www.fao.org/climate-change.

Sources :
Ann-Clara Vaillancourt
Press Officer
Office of the Minister of International Relations and Francophonie
418 649-2319

Tina Farmer
Communication Advisor
Office of the Deputy Director-General Climate & Natural Resources Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations
+39 06 570 56846
tina.farmer@fao.org

Information :
Claudine Bertrand
Communication Advisor
Office of the Minister of International Relations and Francophonie
418 649-2400, poste 57211

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