Thank you for the opportunity to address this important subject today as a common undertaking of the UN General Assembly and the Committee on World Food Security.
The CFS offers an important forum for inclusive and intergovernmental exchange on global food governance. The Committee has an essential responsibility to work together towards the elimination of hunger and ensuring food security and nutrition for all, based on the human right to adequate food.
At the outset, I must repeat: Russia’s illegal invasion of Ukraine is putting food security and nutrition for millions of women, children and men at risk. That war is further exacerbating the already dire situation regarding global food security, caused amongst others by armed conflicts, climate change and the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic. All in all this implies: multiple crises put significant pressure on the food security worldwide.
This is why Germany, as current G7 presidency, put this topic high on the agenda of its presidency. We treat it with the utmost importance.
On 18 May, two months ago, the G7 launched the Global Alliance on Food Security. This Alliance is designed to be a key platform to foster cooperation, guided by the shared belief that governments, international organizations, multilateral development banks, civil society, the private sector, science and philanthropist organizations must work together to weather this storm. We invite other member states and stakeholders to join the alliance for a joint-up effort.
The Global Alliance strongly supports the UNSG’s Global Crisis Response Group in its work stream on Food, with Chancellor Scholz acting as one of the six “Champions” upon invitation of the UNSG.
It must be our common goal in this crisis to support specifically the most vulnerable people and regions against the impact of the worsening crises. Therefore, I am pleased to reiterate that the G7 agreed on 28 June, at the Elmau summit, to commit additional 4.5 billion US-Dollars to protect the most vulnerable from hunger and malnutrition, adding to all prior commitments on food security.
In the run-up to the Elmau summit, the three German ministries for Foreign Affairs, for Development Cooperation and for Food and Agriculture hosted a ministerial conference on 24 June that extended well beyond the G7 format, with more than 60 delegations participating. The conclusions reiterated strong commitments in both dimensions, immediately necessary humanitarian assistance as well as the need for sustainable transformation of agriculture and food systems.
The SOFI report on the State of Food Security and Nutrition from two weeks ago serves as a stark reminder that even before the Russian war against Ukraine started, food security was under stress, and that we are getting further off-track on reaching the Sustainable Development Goal 2, “Zero Hunger”. The number of chronically undernourished people has gone up again – to 828 million in 2021.
Because of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and its global consequences alone, the number of people in acute food insecurity, a more narrowly defined category, will rise by 47 million additional human beings this year to 345 million, according to an estimate by the World Food Programme.
The most important contribution to a solution to the short-term problem would be for Russia to end its war in Ukraine.
Indeed, we observe again that violent conflicts are a main driver for hunger and malnutrition –
But: so are climate change and economic shocks. It is therefore crucial, beyond immediate humanitarian assistance and short-term measures, to focus on a lasting transformation of agriculture and food systems. The sustainable transformation must strengthen resilience and thereby reduce humanitarian needs, boost sustainable local production, diversify crops and thereby reduce dependencies on imports.
Moreover, sustainable agricultural production should rather contribute to the global protection of the climate and to biodiversity and avoid negative impacts on the environment. We underline the need for conventional and locally adapted seeds of better quality and non-fossil-based fertilizers, as well as access to digital options for farmers.
As demonstrated at the UN Food Systems Summit in September 2021, the international community recognises the need for this systemic transformation. Germany undertakes a strong national effort and supports several partner countries in developing their own national pathway towards this goal. We also pursue our work in the Coalitions of Action, to carry forward the momentum on the transformation.
In closing, let me also say: We commend and support not only the activities oft he UN Secretary General’s Global Crisis Response Group, but even more so his and UN OCHA’s mediation efforts to enable a re-start of Ukrainian grain exports. We look forward to hearing more details about the succesful meeting of Ukraine, Russia, Turkey, and UN in Istanbul last week.