Director-General  QU Dongyu
A statement by FAO Director-General Qu Dongyu

Statement by

Dr QU Dongyu, FAO Director-General

Meeting of the G20 Agriculture Ministers 12 September 2020

As prepared

 

 

Minister Abdulrahman AL FADLEY,

Distinguished participants,

 

It is a pleasure for me to join you today and thank you for your kind invitation.

FAO has been providing technical support to the G20 since 2011. At that time, we worked together to address the problem of extreme food price volatility. And together, established the Agricultural Market Information System (AMIS). I would like to thank the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for providing generous funding to this joint initiative. AMIS is instrumental in enhancing market information and increasing market transparency. Thank you minister Al Fadley.

Today, we are faced a new challenges--the global COVID-19 pandemic which is affecting food and agricultural systems globally and all dimensions of food security. No country is immune.

Across the world, countries have made sure that food value chains continue to function well. This ensures the production and the availability of diversified, safe and nutritious foods. The good news from harvested major crops in 2020 will be a bumper harvest year. FAO estimates that the expected global cereal output still stands at 2 765 million tonnes, an all-time high and 58 million tonnes above the 2019 outturn. That owned to enabling policies, innovation (new cultivars, agri-inputs and marketing channels), investment and hard work by millions of famers.

So far, joint efforts have averted the pandemic triggering a food crisis.

But before the pandemic, our analysis shows that almost 690 million people in the world  are estimated to have been undernourished in 2019.

This could be heavily aggravated by COVID-19. The most vulnerable will be hit the hardest. Our assessment suggests that the COVID-19 pandemic may add up to 132 million people to the ranks of undernourished in the world in 2020.

Global food markets are well supplied. However, as the global economy struggles to recover due to the pandemic, access to food will be negatively affected by income reductions and loss of jobs.

This would be disastrous, particularly in the context of the 2030 Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals, especially SDG 1 and SDG 2.

Honourable Ministers,

As the pandemic evolves, this meeting maintains the spirit of collaboration among countries.

Our discussions show the political willingness to continue working together to improve access to food, to transform our agri-food systems and to eradicate hunger.

  • We must ensure that trade continues to flow smoothly to contribute to food security and nutrition globally.

This month, we will launch ‘The State of Agricultural Commodity Markets 2020’ in which we discuss how markets and value chains can contribute to food security and growth.

AMIS, which is housed at FAO, continues to monitor global food markets and to provide timely information. The initiative will need your regular support to continue to play its important role in promoting food market transparency.

  • We need to strengthen our efforts to promote responsible investment in agriculture as an integral part of our sustainable development.

FAO commends the Riyadh Statement to Enhance Implementation of Responsible Investment in Agriculture and Food Systems.

We will support G20 members and FAO members as whole with our programmes on: the CFS Principles for Responsible Investment, the Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land, and the OECD-FAO Guidance for Responsible Agricultural Supply Chains.

  • We should address all risks, including those arising from transboundary plant and animal pests and diseases. FAO is committed to the International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC) and to the joint FAO/OIE Global Framework for the Progressive Control of Transboundary Animal Diseases.
  • The issue of antimicrobial resistance requires ample attention. We should remain committed against the inappropriate use of antimicrobial agents in agriculture and food systems globally. And, I would like to thank you for your support to the Tripartite Plus agencies.
  • With the potential danger of the pandemic causing market disruptions, we need to continue our efforts to reduce food loss and waste.

Our work on the G20 Technical Platform on the Measurement and Reduction of Food Loss and Waste is another example of the strong collaboration between FAO and the G20.

I invite you to join us on the International Day of Awareness of Food Loss and Waste on 29 September. The development of the FAO baseline on food loss and waste will contribute substantially to measuring progress and making a change.

  • We need to make water a priority. Climate change is expected to exacerbate the water availability and flooding across regions.

With agriculture using 70 percent of global freshwater withdrawals, this is a central issue for us. FAO’s global initiative “Coping with Water Scarcity in Agriculture” promotes sustainable water use in agriculture.

I commend your intention to work on sustainable water management to which we are ready to contribute.

Our flagship report ‘The State of Food and Agriculture 2020’ – that will be launched next month – focuses on water and agriculture.

Only by joining our efforts and working together will we successfully address the global challenges.

This is why, in July of 2020 we launched the FAO COVID-19 Response and Recovery Programme, to provide an agile and coordinated global response and ensure nutritious food for all both during and after the pandemic.

FAO is committed and ready to continue working with our members on agri-food transformation by 4 betters namely better production, better nutrition, a better environment and a better life for a better world.

Thank you.

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