Global Agriculture

QU Dongyu Inaugurates the International Year of Camelids 2024 Exhibition

12 June 2024, Rome: FAO Director-General QU Dongyu today inaugurated an exhibition hosted by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia showcasing the evolution of the camelid sector in the country, as part of the global campaign for the International Year of Camelids 2024.

The exhibition highlights the economic, social and cultural importance of camelids and the significant contribution the camelid-sector brings to food security, nutrition and livelihoods in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, as well as to the arid and semi-arid lands of Africa and Asia and in the Andean highlands.

“As the lead UN agency for the International Year of Camelids, I wish to thank the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for its critical support to this global campaign, including for its generous financial contribution and for co-chairing its Steering Committee, together with the Plurinational State of Bolivia,” the Director-General said opening the exhibition.

In his address Qu also thanked the leadership of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia ahead of hosting the 16th Conference of the Parties to the UN Convention on Combating Desertification, which will take place December of this year. The launch was attended by His Royal Highness Prince Faisal bin Sattam Al Saud, Ambassador of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to Italy, and His Excellency Mohammed Al Ghamdi, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to FAO, among other dignitaries.

The International Year of Camelids 2024 highlights how camelids are key to the livelihoods of millions of households in difficult environments across over 90 countries, particularly Indigenous Peoples and local communities. From alpacas to Bactrian camels, dromedaries, guanacos, llamas, and vicuñas, camelids contribute to food security, nutrition and economic growth as well as holding a strong cultural and social significance for communities across the world.

The Director-General noted that the International Year of Camelids presents a unique opportunity to recognize camelids as true heroes of resilience as they support millions of people in building their own resilience to the impacts of the climate crisis in mountains and drylands. Camelids are our true allies in combating desertification, he said.

Through extreme climatic conditions, camelids continue to provide products, food, organic fertilizer and transport to local communities and Indigenous Peoples.

Investment in the camelid sector

“The camelid sector has untapped potential to help advance global efforts to achieve the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and plays a key role in FAO’s sustainable livestock transformation framework in support of more efficient, more inclusive, more resilient and more sustainable agrifood systems, for better production, better nutrition, a better environment and a better life, leaving no one behind,” Qu stated.

The exhibit showcases projects in the camelid-sector, as well as major camelid-related products and services that support millions of households in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Products on display range from camelid milk and milk-based products to coffee and camelid leather products.

In highlighting the various contribution that the camelid-sector provides, the exhibition is a reminder to increase investments in capacity development, projects and research to the sector going forward during the International Year of Camelids 2024. 

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