Why Was FAO Silent About the Starvation in Gaza?

APN | Amman – Zoom

23 - 25 October 2023


The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) invited APN to participate in the FAO Regional Technical Consultative Meeting which took place on 23 – 25 October 2023. This meeting served as preparation for the 37th session of the FAO Regional Conference for the Near East, set to take place in early 2024.

Razan Zuayter, APN Chairperson of the Board, urged FAO to issue statements within its domain of expertise concerning the genocide occurring in the Gaza Strip and the “death diet” imposed by the occupation on Gazans for over a decade and a half. She expressed curiosity about the reasons behind FAO's reluctance to do so thus far.

During the session titled "Greening Agriculture: Towards Transformation to Efficient, Climate-resilient Agrifood Systems”, APN Advocacy and Research Officer, Lisa Shahin, highlighted the omission in the technical papers of addressing the root causes that render societies vulnerable to climate change. Shahin emphasized that our region grapples with political, economic, and social challenges, particularly wars, intraregional conflicts, and occupation, which diminish its capacity to adapt to climate change.

During the session titled "Enabling Inclusive and Sustainable Rural Transformation", APN Media Coordinator, Asmaa Awwad, highlighted that despite the subject of partnerships with rural communities and grassroots civil society organizations being pertinent to local food systems, it did not receive due attention in discussions on inclusive and sustainable rural transformation. Awwad presented case studies, including APN’s Million Tree Campaign in Palestine and the Green Caravan in Jordan. She expressed hope that FAO would actively collaborate with Arab initiatives dedicated to environment conservation, leveraging their valuable experiences. Awwad also wished for increased attention and advancement in the "Arab Tree Path" project, introduced by APN in collaboration with FAO and endorsed by the League of Arab States, which is yet to be implemented.

During the last session "Creating Resilient and Sustainable Agri-Food Value Chains in Conflict-Prone and Conflict-Affected Contexts in the Near East and North Africa", Zuayter recommended the inclusion of CFS-FFA framework, and the need to accumulate work on it, especially since all countries that have ratified it now support the war of extermination in Gaza, and concluded that the document should reflect the reality of our region and our country, as there is no mention of occupation in the list of shocks, wars, sanctions, or asylum.

In the last session on " Developing sustainable and resilient agrifood value chains in conflict-prone and -affected contexts", Zuayter recommended the integration of the CFS-FFA framework and emphasized the necessity of building upon its work. She particularly highlighted the paradox that all countries endorsing the framework are currently supporting the Gaza conflict. Zuayter concluded that the document should accurately depict the realities of our region and country, notably the absence of any reference to occupation in the list of shocks, wars, sanctions, or asylum.