DUBAI, (Pakistan Point News - 22nd Nov, 2020) Dr Abdullah Belhaif Al Nuaimi, Minister of Climate Change and Environment, today called for updating agricultural plans and strategies in the Gulf Cooperation Council, GCC, member states to incorporate innovative solutions that enhance food security and sustainability in the region and improve the contingency response of countries.
Presiding over the 30th Meeting of the GCC Agricultural Cooperation Committee, he said, "The impacts of the COVID-19 outbreak on the international community have highlighted the importance of boosting food security and sustainability as well as the flexibility and continuity of supply chains. In response, there is a need for the region to develop its agricultural and food sectors, and diversify supply chains."
"Despite the challenges that the pandemic has brought, the UAE – owing to the vision of its wise leadership – has overcome the related risks to food security, and strengthened its food supply chain. We are currently working on enhancing the country’s food self-sufficiency through integrated legislation and ambitious initiatives," he added.
The agenda featured nine main items to be submitted to the Secretariat-General, based on the takeaways of the 28th meeting of under-secretaries of ministries concerned with agricultural affairs in the GCC that took place on 16th November.
The gathering concluded with key recommendations and tasks for the Permanent Committee for Agricultural Systems and Policies, Permanent Committee for Livestock, and Permanent Committee for Fisheries.
Recommendations for the Permanent Committee for Agricultural Systems and Policies included approving the Unified Law (System) for Organic Inputs and Products and its executive regulations as a guiding law for two years following the revision of its provisions, in addition to approving the amended Law (System) for Agricultural Quarantine and reviewing its executive regulations.
Meanwhile, the Permanent Committee for Livestock recommended approving the collection and distribution of registration fees for the group purchasing programme for pharmaceuticals and medical supplies, based on the list agreed upon during the November 2019 meeting. Furthermore, it urged member states to continue their participation in the programme.
Other recommendations included approving the law on preventive measures for communicable and endemic zoonoses in the region, the GCC guiding plan for controlling animal diseases, and the unified plan for brucellosis control. The Permanent Committee for Livestock was also tasked with developing control plans for other zoonotic diseases.
The Permanent Committee for Fisheries recommended continuing regular data entry in the software of the narrow-barred Spanish mackerel landing programme and approved the aquaculture manual for use across the region. Moreover, the Committee recommended approving the Unified Law for the Protection, Development, and Exploitation of Living Aquatic Resources, and starting its implementation as a guiding law for two years.
The attendees recommended forming a legal technical team of representatives of all concerned entities in the GCC to list and review non-tariff barriers and formulate relevant suggestions.
Furthermore, the Secretariat-General presented two papers during the meeting. The first explored ways of boosting GCC collaboration post-COVID-19, while the second focused on enhancing food security.
In closing, the participants selected Bahrain to be the host and chair of the 31st meeting of the GCC Agricultural Cooperation Committee in 2021.