By: Editorial view-point, OP-ED
Recently, on December 12, 2022, The Islamic Organization for Food Security (IOFS) presented the work accomplished in 2022 and reported on the primary outcomes of the Year of Africa during the IOFS Day in Astana, Kazakhstan. Today 21 African states are member of the IOFS.
The diplomatic corps, experts from more than 20 countries, and representatives of the international media participated in the forum.
Yerlan Baidaulet, General Director of IOFS, urged all member states and international organizations to partner in implementing the Africa Food Security Initiative (AFSI), which is the result of the resounding success of the IOFS Year of Africa in 2022.
«IOFS will continue to support Africa’s commitment to a sustainable food system through its projects and programs. I hope we will succeed, and I firmly believe our efforts will be more effective with your support,» – he said in the welcoming remarks.
The forum participants noted the position of IOFS as a critical platform for coordinating all flows of food security programs in the countries of the Islamic world. According to the guests of the forum, the young organization has great potential and provides a timely response to the growing global challenges of the food crisis worldwide.
According to Masoud Jarallah Al-Marri, Chairman of the IOFS Executive Board, the IOFS objective is to provide adequate, healthy, and balanced nutrition and increase the capacity related to obtaining it at the reasonable cost and the required quality to achieve sustainable development, social stability, and a decent life.
«This comes in light of the current situation and the recurring crises that threaten food security in the countries of the world in general and Islamic countries in particular, which requires more concerted efforts and capacity building to strengthen the food security system to enable it to withstand these challenges», – he said.
As IOFS press-serves report, throughout the year, the IOFS worked with African governments and other partners to develop the African agricultural sector and implement its strategic programs. The IOFS extended its gratitude and recognition to the partners who have worked in various venues for the benefit of African member states with the IOFS.
It is necessary to be noted that the Inaugural session of the IOFS General Assembly was held in conjunction with the 7th Ministerial Conference on Food Security and Agricultural Development on April 26-28, 2016 was also held in Astana, Kazakhstan. Back in 2011, this largest (by GDP) Central Asian Land locked country was first who initiated the foundation of IOFS, within the OIC at the 7th session of the World Islamic Economic Forum in Astana. That is why now the headquarters of IOFS is located in Astana, capital of Kazakhstan. This food-producing and exporting state along with Bangladesh and UAE are making the contributions into a budget of IOFS.
The idea of establishing the IOFS was very timely, considering the relevance of food insecurity and hunger in many countries. At the high-level forum on «Sustainable Development under the UN General Assembly», the President of Kazakhstan Kassym-Jomart Tokayev pointed out the importance of the goals of the Islamic Organization for Food Security, which are aimed at solving the problems of desertification, deforestation, erosion, salinization, and social insecurity.
On September 21, this year in New-York President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev took part in the Global Summit on Food Security, which was held under the joint chairmanship of the African Union and the European Union.
As presidential press-service reported, the event was also attended by the President of the European Council Charles Michel, Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Senegalese President Macky Sall, US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken and other world politicians.
In his speech, President of Kazakhstan noted that ensuring food security is one of the most pressing problems facing the world today. He stressed that since the last meeting in this format in 2019, the number of people facing acute food shortages has increased from 135 to 345 million people.
Tokayev said that Kazakhstan intends to continue to utilize its agricultural potential to combat the global food shortage. In particular, the President stressed that his country will continue to act as a reliable supplier of grain and other basic types of food.
Kazakh President urged to intensify efforts to combat hunger. In this context, he noted readiness to expand cooperation with the Islamic Food Security Organization and UN institutions.
In addition, Tokayev focused on the transit and transport potential of Kazakhstan, including within the framework of the Trans-Caspian International Transport Route. — «We expect that the volume of cargo transportation through Kazakhstan will increase significantly in the coming years. Ahead of winter, Kazakhstan can mitigate the existing shortage of energy resources and critical raw materials», – he said.
The President separately focused on the challenges associated with climate change and the structural vulnerability of food systems. He stressed that Kazakhstan, as an international transit hub, is able to build global sustainable supply chains.
At the end of his speech, Kassym-Jomart Tokayev noted that in the 1930s, Kazakhstan experienced a tragedy caused by famine («Asharshylyk») and is therefore fully committed to solving food security problems.
By the way, besides the grains, flour and wheat, Kazakhstan holds a leading position in the export of many other important goods, including oil, metals, petrochemicals, edible oil. Cooperation of Ethiopia with Kazakhstan in this area has great prospects.
During the trade seminar in Addis Ababa, organised on November 8, this year, by the Embassy of Kazakhstan in Ethiopia in cooperation with the Addis Ababa Chamber of Commerce and Industry, local businessmen expressed their interested in developing trade with Kazakhstan.
Ambassador Barlybay Sadykov, in this remarks during the seminar pointed out that Kazakhstan-Ethiopian mutual trade turnover is growing three times this year, comparing with the same period of the previous year. He also drew attention to the prospects of bilateral trade and investment cooperation. Regarding the political situation in Ethiopia he congratulated the Government of Ethiopia and all citizens of the country on the signing of the Peace Agreement on November 2 this year. «This long-awaited event is a historic landmark for Ethiopia and its people in achieving peace, stability and security throughout all country. Kazakhstan has always stood and supported the principle and policy aimed at preserving the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ethiopia» – he said.
Thus, the continuation of effective cooperation of Ethiopia with Kazakhstan in the international arena, within the framework of the UN, could be fruitful for both sides. Both countries share common values and firmly stands for the principles of international law, protection of sovereignty, and territorial integrity.