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

Steering Committee of the Global Crisis Response Group

Speaking Points

For

Dr QU Dongyu, FAO Director-General

As prepared

23 March 2022

Secretary General,

Dear colleagues, 

1.         FAO join the call of the Secretary-General to end the war, restore peace and protect people's lives.

 

2.         We express our solidarity with all the people suffering in this war, particularly those whose livelihood depends on agriculture.

 

3.         At FAO, we are mobilizing our resources and capacities to assist within the limitations the war imposes, and in line with our mandate.

 

4.         This war comes at a time where COVID-19 has already negatively affected economies worldwide, with millions of people losing income and jobs, and pushed into poverty and hunger.

 

5.         With energy prices rising in parallel to food prices, the purchasing power of the world's vulnerable consumers has decreased sharply.

 

6.         This additional burden also comes at a time when higher health expenditures and the costs of controlling COVID-19 are already squeezing the budgets of governments globally.

 

7.         In addition to food and fuel prices, fertilizer prices have also risen to an all-time high, adding to the costs of producing food.

 

8.         We are concerned that higher fertilizer prices will lead to lower fertilizer use, with adverse impacts on yields of staple crops and vegetable oil crops and production prospects across the world.

 

9.         This could result in even more undernourished people over the next two years.

 

10.       The Russian Federation and Ukraine are important players in all three markets of concern, in food (including animal feed), fuel and fertilizer markets.

 

11.       Together, they provide 19% of the world’s barley supply, 14% of wheat, and 4% of maize, making up more than one-third of global cereal exports. They are also lead suppliers of rapeseed and account for 52% of the world’s sunflower oil export market.

 

12.       Supply chain and logistical disruptions on Ukrainian and Russian grain and oilseed production and restrictions on Russia’s exports will have significant food security repercussions. This is especially true for some fifty countries that depend on Russia and Ukraine for 30% or more of their wheat supply. Many of them are least developed countries or low-income, food-deficit countries in Northern Africa, Asia and the Near East. Many European and Central Asian countries rely on Russia for over 50% of their fertilizer supply, and shortages there could extend to next year.

 

13.       They will have to look to alternative suppliers. But that will take time.

 

14.       The disruptions to supply is already impacting smallholder farmers due to high fertilizer prices.

 

15.       In order to prevent a global food security crisis, we must ensure that global trading continues to function smoothly.

 

16.       Exports should not be restricted or taxed, and markets should be kept open.

 

17.       We also need to increase efficiency in our consumption, but not through subsidizing domestic consumption at large which can result in a wasteful use of food, energy and natural resources,

 

18.       But through effective safety nets and well-targeted social protection programmes to guarantee access to food, especially for the most vulnerable.

 

19.       We should also make every effort to improve market transparency and market intelligence.

 

20.       As the host of the Agricultural Market Information System (AMIS) secretariat, FAO is playing a key role in this regard.

Dear Colleagues,

 

21.       FAO is committed to continue providing crucial updated market intelligence to decision-makers and partners so that they can make the right choices.

 

22.       Hard facts and figures are key to calm markets.

 

23.       In Ukraine, already prior to the war, FAO had a wide field presence and experience in delivering humanitarian support.

 

24.       Now, we are scaling up our response, including with partners.

 

25.       FAO is strongly supportive of this initiative of the Secretary General and we look forward to working closely with all of you in the Steering Committee of the Global Crisis Response Group on Food (Feed and Fuel), Energy and Finance.

 

26.       We are convinced that bringing food as basic human right, energy and finance together is central to assure a comprehensive approach for global stability and peace,

 

27.       And for concrete solutions to maximize synergies among all key actors.

 

28.       Working collectively is right choice.

 

29.       Transparency and openness are at the core of our dialogue for solidarity.

 

30.       Thank you.

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