Islamabad, 31 July, 2023 (GNP): COMSTECH organized webinar on “Shocks, Stresses and Resilience of Food System in the Arab Region”, which was delivered by Prof. Dr. Abdullah Al-Musa, Secretary General, The Higher Council for Science and Technology (HCST), Jordan, and the member of Technical Experts Group in climate change, Union for the Mediterranean (UfM).
The Coordinator General COMSTECH, Prof. Dr. M. Iqbal Choudhary said in his introductory remarks that the today’s topic is crucial in the context of human welfare and wellbeing. He said that the food security is under threat due to various reasons. He stressed the importance of developing S&T that can help in developing systems which are resilient against various odds being faced by food security. Prof. Choudhary said that the speaker of today’s topic is a scholar par excellence due to his contribution to the field, knowledge, humility and excellence.
Prof. Dr. Abdullah Al-Musa, in his lecture, talked about food system drivers, food supply chain, environment and customer behavior. He said that most important and investigated outcome in food and nutrition security is measured through studying changes in two indicators: Prevalence of Undernourishment (POU), and Food Insecurity Experience Scale (FIES). Prof. Musa said food systems can have various stresses that impact their outcome which is measured by changes in POS and FIES.
Prof. Musa said that the violence and conflicts, climate change, macroeconomic issues and epidemics are the shocks that tremored the Arab food security. He said that conflicts in Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen caused significant decline in POU in Arab region.
Prof. Musa said that the climate-induced environmental events, warming temperature, soil erosion and salty water intrusion in the coasted areas impacted the food security. He said in the absence of regulating policies, increased temperature and reduced rainfall will result in lowering water table due to over extraction of ground water, whereas regional policies of building dams in river countries not only jeopardize aquatic biodiversity but also cause restriction of surface water to the region.
He said that the Arab region had been subjected to floods, storms, earthquakes and droughts three times more often than before. Prof. Musa mentioned that fluctuating oil and food prices, abruption of trade flow, tourism decline and COVID pandemic stressed the food security. He said that the changes in the food system drivers like environmental and biophysical, technology and infrastructure, socio-culture, political and institutional, economic, market and demographic exerted the stress on the Arab region’s food security.
Dr. Abdullah Al-Musa is an academician with more than 20 years of experience in higher institution management at different levels starting from department head to president of the two top universities in Jordan (University of Jordan and Yarmouk University).