As part of the preparatory process for the 4th UN Conference on LDCs in 2011, the UN system organizations, specialized agencies and other relevant organizations agreed to convene Pre-Conference Events within their respective mandates around 10 key thematic priority areas for LDCs, during 2009-10, the results of which would form part of the strategy for the next decade long Programme of Action to be adopted during the 2011 Conference, in Istanbul, Turkey. FAO, together with IFAD, WFP and OHRLLS will be organizing a one day event under Thematic Area 7 – Enhancing Food Security through Agricultural Development and Access to Food and Nutrition, focusing on the following sub-themes: a) Ensuring Access to Food and Nutrition in LDCs; and b) Effective Strategies for Mitigating / Coping with volatilities in LDC food markets. The following UN partner agencies will also collaborate for the event: UNCTAD, CFC, UNCDG, UNIFEM, UN-Habitat and WMO.
Agriculture remains the foundation of most LDC economies and underpins food security and rural development. Sluggish growth in agricultural productivity and pronounced volatility in agricultural output and prices continue to be among the primary causes for the persistence of poverty and food insecurity. Increasingly marginalized in world agricultural markets, LDCs are also challenged by an increasingly competitive external environment, due to greater integration of markets and trade liberalization. The relative inability of many of the LDCs to compete in world markets, as well as in their own domestic markets, is reflected in rising food import bills, with current projections for LDC dependence on food imports increasing at least until 2015.
Within the overall thematic area of enhancing food security through agricultural development and improved access to food to better nutrition, the pre-conference event is dedicated to exploring strategies for enhancing food and nutrition security in the LDCs, taking into account best practices, opportunities and threats from various parts of the world. In this regard, the event will be interactive and representative of a broad range of stakeholders and viewpoints. The agenda will include presentations and discussions of both, national, regional and global dimensions of the issues. Each sub-theme will incorporate presentations on experiences, lessons, perspectives and future directions for the LDCs. All presentations will be followed by contributions from participants.