A team from the Arab Group for the Protection of Nature (APN) participated in the Seventh Annual Conference of the Arab Forum for Environment and Development (AFED) on Food Security in Arab Countries at the Le Meridien Hotel, Amman last year. The Conference was organized in collaboration with FAO, ESCWA, ICARDA, and the Kuwaiti Fund for Arab Economic Development.
APN President, Razan Zuayter was invited to give a presentation during the session on Arab Civil Society Initiatives on APN's Million Tree Campaign in Palestine which is designed to bolster Palestinian farmers’ ties to their land through large scale tree planting. The campaign works to replant fruit trees as a means of counteracting the damage wrought by the Israeli occupation around the areas where settlements, by-pass roads, and the wall are being built. Since 2001, destructive practices as part of the occupation have resulted in the uprooting of over 2.5 million trees. Within the same timeframe and in collaboration with its partners, APN has managed to plant 2 million trees and has launched its 3rd Million Tree campaign in December 2014.
Furthermore, the AFED 2014 Report on "Food Security Challenges and Prospects" was released during the conference, providing an overview of the state of agriculture in the Arab countries, and discussing possibilities of enhancing land and water efficiency to improve food security. The report drew together case studies and lessons learnt from different countries, sectors and actors involved in enhancing food security in the Arab region. APN was invited to include an article on its achievements in confronting food insecurity and malnutrition in situations of crises and conflicts, particularly its Million Tree Campaign in Palestine.
The conference brought together 750 delegates from 54 countries, representing governments, corporations, international and regional organizations, agricultural investment bodies, universities, research centers, NGOs and media.
In an intervention made by Zuayter, she commended the important initiative taken be AFED to address the topic of food insecurity in the Arab world but she emphasized the need to have better gender and civil society representation in terms of speakers, and stressed that only through Arab integration food security and sovereignty over resources is achievable.