ASIA – The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation have agreed to boost joint efforts aimed at strengthening food security and sustainable development.

The organisations recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, that seeks to increase the exchange of information, research data, and best practices related to food security and sustainable development in a more structured manner.

The new efforts build of previous collaboration between FAO and the SCO on certain topics and activities, such as transboundary animal diseases.

The organisations have also signaled more joint events and projects of common interests such as in advancing climate change mitigation, sustainable management of natural resources, digitalization in agriculture, and conducting joint studies on agriculture and food markets.

Common areas of interest might also include improved phytosanitary and veterinary frameworks, support to healthy diets in urban areas, just as promoting South-South Cooperation.

Vladimir Rakhmanin FAO Regional Representative for Europe and Central Asia said: “There is a whole range of topics, including food security, agriculture and environmental sustainability, where both organizations play an active role with many overlapping.

“It is an obvious step to forge closer ties and work together even harder for the realization of the Sustainable Development Goals. The vision for a sustainable future is a complex matter, where all have to act together.”

Vladimir Norov, Secretary-General of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation added: “The Shanghai Cooperation Organisation has close ties with the United Nations and its specialized agencies.

“We are glad that the organization’s connections with UN agencies has been further expanded by signing the Memorandum with FAO.

“The SCO highly appreciates the role of FAO in its fight against hunger, malnutrition and in ensuring food security. Our countries, where nearly half of the humanity lives, would benefit from the expertise and experience of FAO.”

FAO has continually pushed for international co-operation and innovative, climate friendly technologies as means of addressing global food loss and waste which totals more than 1.3 billion tonnes a year.

The SCO is a permanent intergovernmental international organization, which comprises of eight member states (China, India, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Russia, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan).

These countries signed up to cooperate in many areas, including trade, economy, industry, transport, agriculture, food security, environmental protection, with the ultimate goal to facilitate comprehensive and balanced economic growth, social and cultural development in the region.

SCO member states have placed special attention on agriculture and environmental protection, including water resources management.