FAO-National Dialogue on Sustainable Food Systems of Albania, the roadmap to build sustainable food systems and the way forward
21 June 2023
Tirana, Albania, June 21, 2023 – The National Dialogue on Sustainable Food Systems of Albania marked a significant milestone in the country's efforts to build sustainable and resilient food systems. The event, held at the Tirana International Hotel, aimed to discuss the roadmap for transforming Albanian food systems through sustainable agro-tourism and fostering cross-sectoral collaborations among governmental and non-governmental stakeholders. The dialogue was organized by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, the UN Resident Coordinator Office and FAO Albania, as part of the FAO project "SFS-MED - A Multi-Stakeholder Initiative for Sustainable Food Systems in the Mediterranean" funded by the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The opening session began with welcoming remarks from Enio Civici, Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, who emphasized the importance of sustainable agritourism as a catalyst for rural development and the revitalization of local economies. “Albania's National Pathway recognizes the importance of multi-stakeholder collaboration and the involvement of
civil society in the implementation of policies. We would like to hear today the views of stakeholders from decentralized areas to consider into a national policy roadmap for food systems transformation, and to ensure the support from policymakers on needed regulations."
The UN Resident Coordinator in Albania, Fiona McCluney, emphasized the importance of local and national dialogues for the significance of sustainable food systems for the country's development. "Today’s dialogue serves as a critical platform for advancing these objectives in Albania. We gather today with key national stakeholders, the UN Country Team, and key
development partners to discuss how we can collectively transform Albania’s food system. We as decision-makers, consumers, researchers, and agri-food operators, need to make collective efforts towards a food system that is delivering safe and nutritious food to the Albanian population, offering economic opportunities to food producers and agri-business operators, and doing so in respect with the environment, advancing jobs for youth in the green economy," stressed Fiona McCluney, UN Resident Coordinator.
The FAO Representative for Albania, Raimund Jehle, encouraged the participants to actively engage, share opinions and innovative ideas, and collaborate on transforming Albania's food system to unlock its full potential. "Through the leadership of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, as National Food Systems Convenor, and the leadership of the UN Resident
Coordinator, we hope that this Roadmap will guide the implementation of Albania's National Pathway towards sustainable food systems,” noted Mr. Jehle. “To succeed, the expertise, insights, and collaborative spirit of all the actors we convened today are essential, from municipalities to civil society and UN agencies, from academia to financial institutions, as we strive towards a more sustainable and resilient future for Albania's agriculture and food sector.”
The first session focused on presenting the outcomes of the local dialogues and the draft roadmap for sustainable food systems development in Albania, with a specific emphasis on the agro-tourism sector. FAO Food Systems Expert, Laura DeMatteis, provided an overview of the SFS-MED Initiative, implemented in partnership with CIHEAM, PRIMA and the Union for the
Mediterranean , as well as the context of the 2023 UN Food Systems Stocktaking Moment. FAO Project Coordinator, Jiyoung Nam, highlighted how the ongoing SFS-MED project in Albania contributes to implementing the Albanian National Pathway to Sustainable Food Systems announced in the 2021 UNFSS. Furthermore, FAO National Agriculture and Food Policy Expert,
Valbona Ylli, summarized the findings of the local dialogue series held in Belsh, Përmet and Shkodër, and presented the draft roadmap, inviting stakeholders to provide feedback and insights. Finally, presentations of ILO, UNICEF and UNWOMEN projects demonstrated the diverse efforts being made to enhance sustainability and inclusivity in Albania's food systems
and showing best practices of food systems transformation, showcasing initiatives promoting gender equality in agriculture, regulatory frameworks for healthy nutrition in pre-university institutions, and capacity-building programs for farmers, rural women, youth, and advisory services.
In the closing, the National Convenor of the Food Systems Dialogue, Irfan Tarelli emphasized that the roadmap presented is aligned with the components of the Strategy on Agriculture, Rural Development, and Fisheries (2021-2027) prepared by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development. Additionally, it is in accordance with the IPA III program, developed by the
Government of Albania in collaboration with the EU and international partners, focusing on the green and blue economy, sustainable use of natural resources, environmental sustainability, and resilience to climate change.