FAO training conducted at the Center

On June 18, 2019, Almaty, Kazakhstan — How to count the damage and losses in the agricultural sector caused by natural disasters of various kinds and scales, what methodology should be used to collect information so that the collected data in the countries and regions of the world can be analyzed, aggregated and compared, and what data is required – these and other important issues will be discussed during the three-day training seminar that kicked off today at the Center for Emergency Situations and Disaster Risk Reduction in Almaty.

This is the third workshop in this series conducted in Europe and Central Asian region for presenting a methodology developed by FAO to assess the direct losses caused by disasters in agriculture, fisheries and forestry as part of Sendai Framework and monitoring Sustainable Development Goals.

Climate change has serious implications for all countries in the world, both developed and developing. An increasing number of natural disasters – droughts, floods, storms, more often occurrence of outbreaks of pests, diseases of plants and animals.

At the global level, the economic losses caused by natural disasters, are ranging from 250 to 300 billion US dollars per year. In developing economies, there are about 260 natural disasters per year,  from which as a result suffered 97 million people (an average of 27 billion US dollars of economic loss annually).

At the same time the largest share of losses – nearly 23 percent – falls on agriculture. Between 2005 and 2015 loss as a result of the decline in production of crops and livestock after disasters in emerging economies accounted for about 96 billion US dollars, or about 4% of the potential production was lost.

It bears a direct threat to the well-being of the rural population, as well as losses in all sectors of agriculture in affected countries – animal husbandry, fishing industry, crop production and forestry.

Drought leads to prolonged water deficit and extreme thermal loads in culture, leading to a sharp decline in yield. Flooding generally washes out fertile soil layer in the main areas of production, causing irreversible damage to the enviroment. Storms, hurricanes and tornadoes can destroy forests and to the ground destroying irrigation systems, food storage, and other critical infrastructure that plays an important role in agricultural production – dams, bridges and roads.

In order to develop effective policies that promote sustainability of the sector to natural disasters, as well as the rapid recovery of food systems after disasters requires a robust and evidence-based statistics.

However, the collection of data on damage and losses in agriculture is carried out usually on an ad hoc basis. Governments and multilateral organizations conduct a detailed assessment of the losses in the economy only after large-scale disasters, while data on many small local disasters, the growing number and scale increase, often not collected, resulting in an underestimation of the impact of disasters in the agricultural sector .

In order to develop a standardized approach to assessing the loss and damage resulting from natural disasters in agriculture, FAO has developed a methodology that can be applied in the case of various disasters in the context of the different countries / regions, allows for accurate analysis of all sub-sectors of agriculture and to obtain accurate damage assessment.

During the seminar, representatives of the national statistical services, organizations involved in disaster risk reduction, and the Ministries of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan will work with FAO to create a road map for the implementation of the methodology in the national information system. This will generate data on the effects of natural disasters to increase awareness in the field of agricultural policy for disaster risk reduction and planning.

In addition to studying the key concepts and application of the methodology, the seminar provides an opportunity for experts and decision-makers from the participating countries to share information about the main risks and threats in agricultural sector in their respective countries, exchange of experience in collecting data on damage and loss, to discuss the existing institutional framework and coordination mechanisms, and to identify the steps necessary to systematize the collection, analysis and reporting of the damage and losses at the national, sub-national and local levels.

“This seminar is the first step in a broader process of building capacity in this important area, – said in his speech at the seminar Kairat Nazhmidenov, Head of the FAO Office for Partnerships and Relations in Kazakhstan. “FAO will support national statistical offices and other relevant government institutions in the modernization of the existing information systems in agriculture to improve the awareness of the policy and resource allocation to increase the availability and sustainability of rural areas for natural disasters.”

FAO statisticians will soon begin to work with the Kyrgyz authorities on the development of a roadmap for the methodology implementation. The seminar, which started today, will lead to similar processes in other countries of Central Asia.

Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations plays a leading role in international efforts to defeat hunger. FAO is the global source of knowledge and modern technologies. The organization helps developing countries and transition countries to modernize and improve agriculture, forestry and fisheries practices and ensure good nutrition for all. Since the inception of the organization in 1945, special attention is given to the development of rural areas, where 70 percent of the world’s poor that face the problem of hunger.