Committee on World Food Security

Making a difference in food security and nutrition

18 July 2022 | Closing Remarks by CFS Chair at the High-level Special Event entitled "Time to Act Together: Coordinating Policy Responses to the Global Food Crisis", co-convened by the President of the General Assembly & CFS

18 Jul 2022

Originally delivered in Spanish, check against delivery

Thank you, Your Excellency Abdulla Shahid, President of the General Assembly.

As I said at the beginning, I am deeply honoured to have joined forces with you, and with the UN Secretary-General, in co-convening this high-level event.

Today’s discussion has filled me with optimism and hope. Indeed, President Shahid, yours is a Presidency of Hope.

While the nature and scale of the challenge is daunting and would have made many shrivel, what I heard today is extraordinary leadership of national governments, farmers, civil society and of global institutions.

I heard resilience from those on the frontline, from our food producers.

This is what makes us special, that we can rise against even the most insurmountable of challenges.

Excellences, colleagues, ladies and gentlemen, we heard the need to act with URGENCY. Even more important, we heard the need to continue act TOGETHER, in a COORDINATED manner in support of country-led solutions.

The people most affected by this crisis do not have the luxury of time for duplication or lack of coordination. Nor do future generations, who count on the transformation of food systems, to secure their human right to adequate food, to dignified livelihoods and a healthy planet.

 

Excellences,

The PGA and I have listened carefully and we will produce a Co-Chairs summary of our meeting.

As I conclude, allow me to offer my reflection on the SIX priority actions I heard, that we must take together, to raise ambition and deliver concrete actions, NOW.

  • First, step up humanitarian response for those already in need to alleviate immediate suffering, in all humanitarian contexts, around the world.
  • Second, urgently stabilize markets and commodity prices, release strategic food stockpiles and fertilizers into markets, minimize hoarding and other speculative behavior, and avoid unnecessary trade restrictions to immediately restore the availability, accessibility and affordability of food to enable all people everywhere realize their right to food.
  • Third, encourage increased local production and consumption of diverse food varieties, supporting and protecting smallholder and family farmers, cooperatives and SMEs who produce the 80% of the food we eat. Diversify sources of imported foods; and reduce food loss and food waste to wean countries off their dependencies on imports for increased resilience.
  • Fourth, restoring the availability of inputs including fertilizers, ensuring sustained and affordable access by smallholders and family farmers as well as larger-scale food producers. This should go hand-in-hand with a substantive increased efficiency in the use of energy and fertilizers, unleashing the full potential of agroecology and other innovative approaches to sustainable agriculture.
  • Fifth, reinforce the social protection systems that are needed to prevent a slide into poverty of those in vulnerable situations. This include well-proven nutrition-focused systems such as school meals or cash transfers. That are essential to address the impact of this crisis on children’s malnutrition.
  • Sixth and last, equip countries with the financial resources, fiscal space and funds to support and protect their people, while speeding up the transition to more resilient and sustainable food systems, with the IMF, the World Bank the Regional Development Banks and the donor community playing an essential role.

 

Excellences,

In these challenging times of such a distressing food crisis, it is more urgent than ever to keep our vision and our compass: only sustainable, inclusive, and equitable food systems will deliver resilience to cope with the multi-dimensional shocks such as the ones we are witnessing today. Responding to the current food crisis implies accelerating food systems transformation, not setting it aside. Let us remain committed to the 2030 Agenda and the Paris Agreement as our roadmap and our vision.

 

Distinguished delegates,

The discussion we have started here today will be continued at the CFS Plenary in Rome in October this year, with a High Level Ministerial Session on 10th October.

I look forward to seeing you all there and thank you once again for your engagement.

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