Damascus, SANA- Minister of State for Environment Affairs Nazira Sarkis discussed on Sunday with the representatives of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the World Food Program (WFP) future cooperation between both sides and evaluating food security and crops for the current year.
Sarkis highlighted the natural threats posed to forests, biodiversity and wildlife in Syria as well as the human factors, particularly the acts of armed terrorist organizations which have burned vast spaces of forests, negatively impacting bio-diversity and the environmental services that forests offer.
The minister revealed during the meeting that the ministry is coordinating with Ministry of Agriculture and Agrarian Reform for preparing an executive work program that will outline proposals for joint projects with FAO and other international organizations.
Sarkis hailed the fruitful cooperation between the ministry and FAO, regretting that some joint projects with FAO have stalled due to the fact that the organization has stopped financial support since the beginning of current crisis.
For his part, Adam Yao, deputy resident Representative of FAO, affirmed that the organization and WFP are cooperating to identify the problems hindering the ministry’s work and impacts of sanctions imposed on Syria.
In the same context, Water Resources Minister Kamal al-Sheikha discussed on Sunday with the representatives of FAO and the WFP various issues related to the water sector and their effect on agriculture and food security in Syria.
Minister al-Sheikha stressed the need to resume work according to the agreement signed by the Ministry and FAO in 2012 to assess the damage to irrigation systems and their impact on agriculture, discussing the Ministry’s standing cooperation with donor organizations in terms of providing drinking water in all areas, in addition to the Ministry’s efforts to manage irrigation.
He touched on the state of wheat crops, noting that the overall irrigated areas where wheat is cultivated is estimated at 1.625 million hectares in 2015.
Al-Sheikha said the Ministry wants to cooperate with FAO to improve the efficiency of irrigation systems, and that work is underway to address the issue of underground water depletion and problems affecting sewage processing stations.
At the conclusion of the meeting, the three sides agreed to hold joint meetings between their technical experts.
Manar al-Frieh/Manal / Hazem Sabbagh