On Wednesday June 22, EU40 – the Network of Young MEPs, and a group of cross-partisan MEPs from the RUMRA and Smart Villages Intergroup, held an informal discussion with Ms. Ismahane Elouafi, Chief Scientist at the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations (a position within FAO’s core leadership structure).
During the meeting, Ms. Elouafi presented FAO’s vision and mandate on the science, innovation and technological fronts, and how this may align with the interests of the EU. She had the opportunity to answer questions from several MEPs, including on a bilateral level following the discussion.
FAO is a close partner of the European Parliament, establishing the European Parliamentary Alliance against Hunger and Malnutrition in 2016 and then institutionalizing it in December 2019 under the current parliamentary term 2019-2024. It is a cross-party platform of MEPs which raises awareness on the right to adequate food for all, the eradication of hunger, food insecurity, malnutrition and agricultural sustainability and resilience.
About Ms. Ismahane Elouafi:
Ms. Elouafi has held the position of Chief Scientist at the FAO of the UN since September 2020, a new position created within FAO’s core leadership structure. From 2012 until her appointment, she was Director General at the International Center for Biosaline Agriculture based in the UAE. In this role, she spearheaded the development and implementation of the center’s long-term strategy and expanded its mandate to marginal environments, an agroecosystem concept which she helped to mainstream in the global research and development discourse.
Ms. Elouafi had previously held senior scientific and leadership positions, including Senior Adviser to the Assistant Deputy Minister, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada Research Branch in Canada (2006-2007); the National Manager of Plant Research Section (2007-2010); and Director of Research Management and Partnerships Division at the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (2010-2012). She is a strong advocate for diversifying into neglected and underutilized crops and rethinking food systems as a whole. Ms. Elouafi is also internationally known for her work on promoting use of non-fresh water in agriculture and empowerment of women in science.
Please feel free to read more about Chief Scientist’s role within FAO, and more broadly about the recently adopted FAO Strategic Framework 2022-2031, which seeks to support the 2030 Agenda through the transformation to MORE efficient, inclusive, resilient and sustainable agri-food systems for better production, better nutrition, a better environment, and a better life, leaving no one behind.