FAO and UNITAR expands collaboration to deliver training on Trade and Food Security

Photo credit © dimaberkut/FAO.  FAO and UNITAR expands collaboration to deliver training on Trade and Food Security

June 2017, Geneva, Switzerland - The United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) recently signed an agreement to develop and deliver a series of online courses with special focus on trade and food security for trade and agriculture officials from 12 post-Soviet countries and 24 countries from Eastern and Southern Africa.

These joint courses form part of the flourishing partnership between UNITAR and FAO and builds upon the strengths of both institutions by transforming the knowledge expertise provided by FAO into high-quality learning products and services designed to transfer knowledge, impart skills and raise awareness. The partnership likewise takes full advantage of modern information and communication technology (ICT) for greater outreach and cost-effectiveness in delivering its joint activities to regional audiences.

WTO Accession in Post-Soviet countries

The transformation of agricultural production and markets in post-Soviet countries has coincided with the process of globalization and deepening trade integration both within the region and worldwide. With greater participation in global agricultural trade, the region plays an increasingly important role as a supplier of agricultural commodities to international markets.

UNITAR works with FAO's Regional Initiative on Agri-Food Trade and Regional Integration to support its role on strengthening national and regional capacities in Europe and Central Asia to deal effectively with the challenges posed by greater trade integration. This is done by developing better evidence on trade implications, improving the capacity of the countries to use this evidence, facilitating neutral forums and dialogues on trade agreements, and supporting design and implementation of appropriate trade policy at the country level.

Over the past four years, UNITAR and FAO's joint course on "WTO accession and implications for agriculture in the post-Soviet countries" has been adapted and delivered four times due to strong demand in the region. A similar course on "Resolving Agricultural Trade Issues through International and Regional Trade-related Agreements in the CIS Region" has also been repeatedly offered to cater to the needs of the beneficiaries.

Participants have commented that the courses were "very intensive, informative and supplemented by the expert opinions on the diverse nuances of WTO accession and dispute settlement mechanisms, in particular within the framework of global and regional trade agreements."

The post-Soviet countries covered by the collaboration with FAO include Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, andUzbekistan.

Trade and Food Security in Africa

The increasing need for trade experts to support trade related development agenda in the region has posed a major challenge. In most cases, national and regional institutions do not have the technical capacity and resources to map out national, sub-regional and regional level trade priorities and constraints; to empirically assess the implications of their multiple memberships on trade, food security and nutrition; to formulate appropriate mitigation policies and strategies; or to negotiate trade agreements that boost gains from trade and specialization.

UNITAR and FAO's joint initiatives in this area seek to strengthen capacities in the Eastern and Southern Africa region, to develop and implement evidence-based trade policies, and to formulate and negotiate trade agreements, taking into consideration both their needs for economic growth and structural transformation, as well as their food security and nutrition concerns.

This initiative also serves as a platform for stakeholder engagement and to integrate other training institutions in the region to ensure greater participation, broader outreach and to create a multiplier effect in sustaining the joint training activities.

The 24 countries covered by the project in Africa includes Angola, Botswana, Burundi, Comoros, Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Rwanda, Seychelles, Somalia, South Africa, South Sudan, Swaziland, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.

Ownership of Development Objectives and Supporting the Agenda 2030

With the new 2030 Sustainable Development Goals formally adopted, the targets will shape the policies and development agenda of UN-member countries in the years to come. UNITAR's mandate to provide capacity development and knowledge exchange to UN-member countries could tapped to support and accelerate the achievement of Agenda 2030 targets through strategic partnerships with development partners.

The UNITAR/FAO collaboration fully supports the development objectives of UN-member countries by enabling a broader participation and ownership from national and regional officials and institutions in shaping their development goals and targets.

Upcoming Activities

For more information on on-going and up-coming joint FAO/UNITAR activities, please see links below.

WTO accession and implications for agriculture in the post-Soviet countries

June 5 to 30, 2017 | http://www.unitar.org/fao3

Trade, Food Security and Nutrition

July 31 to September 1, 2017 | http://www.unitar.org/tfsn

WTO accession and implications for agriculture in the post-Soviet countries (re-run)

September 4 to 29, 2017 | http://www.unitar.org/fao3

Agriculture in Trade Agreements

October 16 to November 10, 2017 | http://www.unitar.org/aita

For more information about the UNITAR/FAO collaboration, please contact:

Mr. Babar Kamal, Manager, Public Finance and Trade Programme (UNITAR)

Email: babar.Kamal[at]unitar.org

Photo credit © dimaberkut/FAO