UNIDO Director-General Gerd Mueller (left) and FAO Director-General QU Dongyu in Doha, Qatar. March 2023
Photo: ©FAO

Improving food security and nutrition in Least Developed Countries

A new global programme aims to help Least Developed Countries to make their agrifood systems more efficient, inclusive, resilient and sustainable by fostering partnerships and generating public-private investments.

To improve agrifood systems in Least Developed Countries, the Agrifood Systems Transformation Accelerator (ASTA) was jointly launched by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the UN Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) in early March 2023, on the sidelines of the Fifth UN Conference on Least Developed Countries (LDCs) in Doha, Qatar.

ASTA is the first centrepiece of a new collaboration between FAO and UNIDO and helps generate investment in the agrifood system of some of the world's poorest countries, including through development of value chains, market systems, business models and inclusive finance, in order to help achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

ASTA's launch comes at a time when our agrifood systems are threatened under the pressure of the climate crisis, ongoing conflicts and war, as well as the protracted impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. This requires a fresh approach and novel solutions.

ASTA does this in four ways: breaking down silos through broad-based public-private collaborations, abandoning the traditional top-down support and placing the beneficiaries in the driving seat, embodying the ONE UN approach, whereby different UN organisations combine forces to assist countries in more synergistic ways, as well as shifting away from targeting individual SDG indicators.

Such a shift is especially relevant for LDCs, where multiple bottlenecks often hinder urgent change, and where integrated solutions based on inter-ministerial and public-private sector collaborations are essential.

Crucially, the programme helps countries move from broad recommendations and strategies to concrete implementation with measurable impacts.

The ASTA approach has been field-tested since 2018 in 15 countries across Africa, Asia, the Caribbean, the Pacific and South America. Looking ahead, the aim is for ASTA to generate at least $300 million in private investments during the next five years.


Read more on the FAO website

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