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Strengthening Development Coordination Among Regional Actors in The ESCWA Region

E/ESCWA/ECRI/2012/Techncial Paper.2
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Arab Gulf countries are heavily dependent on food imports. This dependency is expected to continue to rise as a result of rapidly growing populations, improving living conditions, sustained economic/industrial development and depleting natural resources. Moreover, climate change is expected to have a major effect on the region. To meet their food needs, Gulf countries must rely on international markets, which makes them vulnerable to the vagaries of global food production, trade policies and commodity prices. This is exemplified by the food crisis of  2007/2008, which led Arab Gulf countries to adopt strategies that include building up national strategic food reserves, scaling up subsidies, and acquiring land abroad for agricultural investments through bilateral deals. These measures may have some drawbacks in the longer term; e.g., prices remaining volatile, socio-economic disturbances impacting land deals, trade being affected by international events or conflicts.