FEATURE STORY

Increasing Food Security in Eurasia and Beyond through Shared Knowledge and Expertise

April 30, 2015


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The agro-food sector in Europe and Central Asia is significant, affecting both regional and global markets. Wheat exports from the region, for example, account for 25 percent of world exports on average.

The global food crisis of 2007-08, however, had a major impact on many countries in the region, affecting each in a different way. Low-income and lower middle-income countries felt the impact most severely, while large commodity exporters often made gains in boosting fiscal accounts and economic growth.

Following the food price crisis, global leaders at the 2009 G8 Summit in Italy made a commitment – through the L’Aquila Food Security Initiative – to take necessary measures to improve world food security, including measures related to agricultural research and education.

In response to the food crisis and as part of its commitment to the L’Aquila Initiative, the Government of the Russian Federation established the Eurasian Center for Food Security in March 2012.

The Center, which is hosted by Lomonosov Moscow State University, is fast-becoming an internationally recognized agricultural research center that contributes to addressing food security issues – not only in Eurasia, but across the globe. Along with its educational programs, the Center will provide policy and technical recommendations for improved agricultural performance, sustainable rural development, and natural resources management.


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At the request of the Russian Government, the World Bank is providing technical assistance – through its Reimbursable Advisory Services – to help enhance the institutional capacity of the Eurasian Center for Food Security. This support includes helping the Center to articulate its vision, strategic development and overall mission – building primarily upon the needs of its four focus countries: Armenia, Kyrgyz Republic, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.

In addition, the World Bank is helping the Center to target partnerships and communities – through the development of a “knowledge center”, enhancement of research capabilities, support for collaborative research and educational programs, facilitation of international and regional workshops and conferences, and the establishment and expansion of food security networks of academics, technical experts and policy makers.

To date, the Center has successfully initiated and implemented a wide range of programs and activities, including:

  • Five research workshops and multiple on-the-job training sessions, in cooperation with the Food and Agriculture Organization, the International Food Policy Research Institute, and other partners.
  • A Food Security Network Conference and Eurasian Soil Partnership Meeting in 2013, during which the Food Security Network and Eurasian hub of the Global Soil Partnership were established.
  • Four e-Consultations during 2013-14 on 1) Major Challenges and G8/G20 Initiatives, 2) Developing a Eurasian Soil Partnership for Food Security and Sustainable Development, 3) Combating Soil Salinization in Eurasia, and 4) Economics of Land Degradation.
  • A Collaborative Research Program in 2014, aimed at fostering collaboration between the Center, Russia and international institutions on priority food security issues for the Eurasia region.
  • A Research Dissemination Workshop on the Economic Aspects of Food Security in Moscow in 2015.
  • An Online Course Design Workshop in 2014 to support the design and development of short-term food security courses.

The Eurasian Center for Food Security partners with other organizations such as the Global Soil Partnership, the Eurasian Sub-Regional Soil Partnership, the International Panel on Soils, the Food and Agriculture Organization, the Consultative Group for International Agricultural Research Centers, International Food Policy Research Institute, and the International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas.

Going forward, the Center will continue to focus on the development of learning programs, expansion of the food security network, organization of international workshops on food security and agriculture, and staff training – all with a view to ensuring that knowledge and expertise can contribute in a real way to ensuring greater food security for the citizens of Eurasia and other parts of the world. 


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