The 17th Multidisciplinary Team (MDT) meeting of the FAO Subregional Office for Southern Africa officially opened today in Johannesburg, South Africa. The MDT meeting is an annual event, which provides a platform for different FAO units and Member States, Regional Economic Communities (RECs) and development partners to jointly review achievements and challenges, while designing innovative approaches for sustainable agrifood systems transformation.
The five-day MDT meeting is held under the theme “Enhancing innovation and investments for a resilient and competitive agro-industrial sector and agrifood systems transformation in Southern Africa.”
The MDT meeting is attended by high-level officials including Winston Makabanyane, Head of Africa Desk, Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development in South Africa; Domingos Hove, Director, Food Agriculture and Natural Resource in the SADC Secretariat; Permanent Secretaries of the SADC Member States, Regional Economic Communities; Abebe Haile-Grabriel, FAO Assistant Director-General and Regional Representative for Africa; development partners, FAO Representatives and senior technical experts from Headquarters and across Southern Africa.
“For the next five days, the subregion and country offices will share the successes, milestones and challenges in programme implementation, as well as outline how we envisage to respond by enhancing innovation and investments for a resilient and competitive agro-industrial sector and agrifood system transformation in Southern Africa,” said Patrice Talla, FAO Subregional Coordinator for Southern Africa in his welcome remarks during the official opening ceremony of the MDT meeting.
The 17th MDT meeting is taking place at the start of the renewed mandate of the FAO Director-General, Dr Qu Dongyu, which focuses on the emergence of a new vision of agriculture that will work towards the Four Betters: Better Production, Better Nutrition, a Better Environment and a Better Life – leaving no one behind.
“I would like to assure you that the regional office eagerly looks forward to the outcomes of this year’s MDT meeting and will be there to provide guidance and support for implementation of the agreed programme priorities. I encourage you to utilize the next five days to engage in fruitful discussions and interactions to fully meet the expectations of this meeting,” said Abebe Haile-Grabriel affirming FAO Regional Office’s support to the subregion.
Defining and aligning priorities to the FAO 33rd Africa Regional Conference (ARC33) and the new biennium
Taking place at a time when FAO will be holding its 33rd Africa Regional Conference (ARC33) in April 2024 in Morocco, the discourse of the MDT meeting will give participants the opportunity for the subregion and its Member States to prepare for the Conference to present subregional priorities and technical assistance expectations of Member States and RECs for deliberations at the Conference. In addition, the MDT deliberations will be conducted with a view to informing priorities for the new Biennium (2024 – 2025).
“SADC has a mandate and obligation to support member states as they strive to achieve agrifood systems transformation. In particular, FANR's mandate has a major focus on a resilient and competitive agro-industrial sector in line with the theme of this year's MDT meeting and as outlined in SADC's Regional Indicative Strategic Development Plan 2020-2030,” said, Domingos Hove underlining the critical importance of co-development, co-ownership and implementation of country and regional programme priorities.
The meeting is structured in a strategic format that will enable the subregion (FAO, Members States and development partners) to take stock of progress to learn and adopt progressive innovations and investments for sustainable agrifood systems transformation. Member States will also have the opportunity present best practices for regional cross-learning and experience sharing. The meeting will delve into the “forecasting” the future of food and agriculture through adopting measurable recommendations for enhancing innovation and investments for a resilient and competitive agro-industrial sector and agrifood systems transformation in Southern Africa.Distributed by APO Group on behalf of FAO Regional Office for Africa.