The Samarkand Declaration, billed as a pivotal move towards strengthening international cooperation on food security, has been formally adopted with the support of the government of Uzbekistan and the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO).
The International Conference on Food Security on 7-8 September is hosting agriculture ministers from 15 nations, deputy ministers from eight countries and senior diplomats from 13 nations. Additionally, over 30 international, scientific and financial institutions are represented.
The landmark conference has been structured around eight global regional initiatives. On its first day, the focus was primarily on tackling hunger, addressing food insecurity and malnutrition, bolstering the productivity and sustainability of agriculture, forestry, and fisheries, and alleviating poverty in rural areas.
The inaugural ceremony featured Prime Minister Abdulla Aripov, who read aloud President of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev's address to the conference participants.
The declaration underscores the global challenges of climate change, water shortages and land degradation.
Uzbekistan's Agriculture Minister, Aziz Voitov, highlighted the pressing need for innovative solutions in the agri-food sector.
"The pandemic has starkly shown the importance of supporting our farmers and exploring new agricultural methodologies. We aim to tap into global scientific expertise to strengthen agriculture and ensure quality sustenance for all," Voitov said.
The Samarkand Declaration emphasises environmentally conscious agriculture that prioritises water conservation and biodiversity.
It also promotes the rollout of comprehensive nutritional initiatives in schools to cultivate healthy dietary habits, especially among the younger generation.
A significant focus is on augmenting the role of women in rural settings, aiming to instigate transformative shifts in the agri-food systems.
Furthermore, there's a call for state-backed support for small and familial farms, ensuring they have enhanced prospects in production and resource utilisation.
Qu Dongyu, CEO of the FAO, stressed the conference's role in reshaping global agri-food systems for better efficiency and inclusivity.
"Our focus includes championing gender parity in rural areas, advancing agricultural innovation, and raising nutritional and environmental standards," Dongyu stated.
A notable feature of the conference will be a roundtable dialogue involving 350 scientists from 27 countries, exploring avenues for collaborative scientific research.