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A statement by FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva
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8 May 2015

 

G20 Agriculture Ministers Meeting

 

Your Excellency Mr Mehmet Mehdi Eker, Minister of Agriculture of Turkey,

Honorable Ministers,

Heads of Delegations,

Distinguished Guests,

Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

 FAO welcomes the high priority given by the G20 and the Turkish Presidency to food security, nutrition and sustainable food systems.

I also want to applaud the Turkish Presidency for initiating the implementation of the G20 Food Security and Nutrition Framework.

Minister Eker, thank you for bringing these issues back to the center of our agenda.

This is especially important in 2015, when the Millennium Development Goals cycle comes to a close, and we begin the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) era.

The change from MDGs to SDGs is about much more than a change in just one letter. It is about making the bold commitment to end hunger, malnutrition and extreme poverty.

The fact that we are discussing this today shows that the G20 is ready to step up efforts to reach our common goals.

Ladies and gentlemen,

FAO estimates the need to increase global food supply by 60 percent to feed more than nine billion people in 2050.

Food production has increased significantly in recent decades. Food availability per capita has increased by 40 percent since 1945, and the Green Revolution has been instrumental in raising agricultural production and productivity. But input intensive farming has also contributed to soil degradation, water pollution and loss of biodiversity.

Climate change adds to the pressure and introduces more uncertainty for food production.

Agriculture has to adapt to climate change. And agriculture also has to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions. This way, agriculture changes from being part of the problem and a victim of climate change, but a part of the solution.

We know that business as usual is not the way forward. It is not sustainable.

There is also an issue of inadequate distribution and access, which is the main cause of hunger today.

In the last decades, we have made progress in the fight against undernourishment. But around 800 million people still suffer from hunger.

And while the undernourishment rate is falling, obesity is increasing, especially in developed and middle-income countries like those that are part of the G20.

Over 500 million people are obese, according to the estimates. And two billion more suffer from micronutrient deficiencies.

Sustainability, food security and adequate nutrition. We need to bring all these three elements always together.

We need to ensure people have enough food to eat; that is food security. We also need to ensure food quality and safety; that is adequate nutrition. They are two sides of the same coin and they bring agriculture and health together.

Ladies and gentlemen,

The G20 is playing an important role in these efforts by offering concrete responses to our food security challenges.

The G20 has also contributed to enhancing market transparency to limit food price volatility through the Agricultural Market Information System (AMIS).

It is playing an important role in preventing food prices from spiralling out of control.

Without question, AMIS is among the major achievements of the G20.

AMIS is growing and maturing. And we know that there is room to make it even more effective.

I welcome the reaffirmation of your dedication to providing the data that is the basis for timely information exchange.

I also believe the Rapid Response Forum could play an even more important role in addressing challenges in international food markets.

Ladies and gentlemen,

Under the Turkish presidency, the G20 is keeping its proactive approach to strengthen food security and nutrition governance, and put in place mechanisms that can give tangible results.

FAO welcomes the agreement to set up a G20 Food Loss and Waste Technical Platform. It will strengthen existing efforts by promoting dialogue, information exchange and policy coherence within the G20 and low income countries.

FAO is ready to work with our partners to establish this platform. I am confident it will give a concrete contribution to sustainably increasing food security and nutrition.

Ladies and gentlemen,

To end, I want to, once again, thank the Turkish Presidency of the G20, and in particular Minister Eker, for highlighting the importance of food security, adequate nutrition and sustainable food systems.

The Ministerial Communiqué you are set to adopt today provides clear commitments, guidance and point to concrete contributions to reaching the future we want.

We are partners in this effort.

I thank you for your kind attention.