The Strategic Framework 2022-2031 of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) seeks to support the 2030 Agenda through the transformation to more efficient, inclusive, resilient, and sustainable agri-food systems for better production, better nutrition, a better environment, and a better life, leaving no one behind.
|Rémi Nono Womdim, FAO Representative in Vietnam.|
With the aim to end hunger and all forms of malnutrition by 2030, the Sustainable Development Goal 2 (SDG 2) represents the United Nations’ commitment to “End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture”. The success of SDG 2, as well as any other SDG, rests to a large extent on effective monitoring, review, and follow-up processes.
As the ‘custodian agency’ for SDG 2, FAO is well-positioned to offer relevant support to countries in achieving their SDG 2 targets. To this end, FAO has recently published a thematic review entitled “Evaluation of FAO’s Contribution to Sustainable Development Goal 2 – Control of transboundary plant diseases and pests.”
This review focuses on building national and regional capacities for preventive control of transboundary plant pests and diseases, with cursory reference to large emergency outbreak control operations, including the current desert locust crisis response in the Horn of Africa and Southwest Asia.
At the occasion of the fourth steering committee meeting of the Global Action for Fall Armyworm (FAW) Control on 16 April 2021, FAO Director-General, Dr. QU Dongyu, called for “stronger, timely national and regional monitoring; early warning capacities; effective technology transfer; and stepped-up capacity development” for FAW control”.
FAW is an invasive moth originating in the Americas. It prefers to eat maize but also feeds on more than 80 other crops, including rice, sorghum, millet, sugarcane, vegetable crops, and cotton. Once established in an area, FAW is almost impossible to eradicate and very difficult to stop spreading — a sprightly adult can fly up to several hundred kilometers per night.
Over the past five years, FAW has spread across Africa, Asia, and the Pacific. The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) officially reported the outbreak of FAW in Viet Nam in April 2019. It was estimated that the pest had affected over 35,000 hectares of maize in 40 provinces.
Vietnam is one of the 53 pilot countries of the Global Action for Fall Armyworm Control that provides a strong and coordinated approach to strengthen prevention and sustainable FAW control capacities.
In conclusion, the FAO review underscores how the control of transboundary pests and diseases is as much a governance issue as a technical one. From the perspective of leaving no one behind, pests and diseases remind us that we all share the same planet and that we should cooperate beyond borders in order to succeed.
In this context, FAO actions are geared towards supporting a fair, collaborative, and technically competent architecture of regional commissions and national entities that trust and help one another.
FAO will continue to forge this trust, but it cannot be a substitute for national authorities, which also have a key role to play.
The review report is available at https://www.fao.org/documents/card/en/c/cb7599en.