African leaders and governments in Europe, Asia and the Americas on Tuesday pledged to act “urgently, at scale and in concert” to respond to the ongoing food insecurity and nutrition crisis that is takes place in the world.
The leaders, representing the African Union, European Union, United States, Spain, Colombia, Germany, Indonesia and Nigeria, issued a joint statement at the World Food Security Summit to affirm their commitment. Leaders also noted that overcoming global food insecurity would require innovative partnerships involving a wide range of key actors in the global community.
The event took place on September 20 on the sidelines of the 77e session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York.
Senegalese President Macky Sall, chairman of the African Union, said around 800 million people are currently going hungry, an increase of 150 million since the start of Covid-19, according to a recent FAO report.
“When a crisis of this magnitude hits the world, every country suffers,” President Sall said. He added that the situation has worsened due to the war in Ukraine, which has caused a sharp rise in food and fertilizer prices.
He warned against imposing trade restrictions. “What is urgent today is to work together to ensure the openness and transparency of grain and fertilizer markets so that all countries can access them in accordance with the rules of international trade”.
Sall praised the African Development Bank for the rapid launch of its $1.5 billion investment African Emergency Food Production Facility to avert an impending food crisis. The Bank facility will facilitate the production of 38 million tons of food, representing a $12 billion increase in production in just two years.
As of July 2022, the Bank’s Board of Directors had approved a cumulative blended financing of $1.13 billion for 24 African countries under the Facility.
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz called on governments, the private sector, the research community and civil society to join the Global Alliance for Food Security, an initiative launched by the world’s most developed economies (G7) and the Bank world in May.
Sholz, current G7 president, warned that climate change was likely to worsen food insecurity, demanding a response. “It is essential that at COP27 in Egypt in two months, all countries have the political commitment and momentum for ambitious climate action…we need to see action now,” he said. .
US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken has called on wealthy countries to provide more emergency food aid to those in need.
He stressed: “We need to strengthen global food systems and help countries develop the capacity to produce their own food so that we can prevent new crises and build resilience to new shocks… We need production sustainable agriculture. We must respond to the emergency, but we must also be part of the long term.
In their joint statement, the leaders highlighted seven actions set out in the Roadmap for Global Food Security, A Call to Action, which emerged from the Food Systems Summit held in 2021. These include:
- Keep markets for food, fertilizers and agricultural products open and avoid unjustified restrictive measures, such as food and fertilizer export bans, which increase market volatility and threaten food security and nutrition in the global scale.
- Accelerate support for sustainable agricultural and food systems by boosting productivity, particularly in the most affected countries, to build their resilience and boost national production, including by supporting a fair and equitable energy transition to make them more resilient and available for producers of all sizes, including smallholder farmers.
- Increase investment in research and technology to develop and implement science-based and climate-resilient agricultural innovations, including seeds, that contribute to building sustainable and resilient agricultural and food systems.
Click on here to read the full statement
President Adesina participates in the session of the United Nations General Assembly, which takes place under the theme: A Watershed Moment: Transformative Solutions to Interrelated Challenges.
The Bank President is expected to meet Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director General of the World Health Organization and Raj Shah, Chairman of the Rockefeller Foundation. He is also expected to attend the Nigeria International Economic Partnership Forum, an international business investment conference.