New York-At a high-level event on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly, the Director-General of the Food & Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), QU Dongyu, urged stronger political commitment & solidarity to transform agrifood systems & achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Qu explained that while there are still many challenges, there are also many opportunities ahead, & countries must adopt a systematic approach focused on leaving no one behind.
“We are still coping with the impact of COVID-19, economic slowdowns & downturns, conflict & climate change, & as a result, there are 122 million more people pushed into hunger since the outbreak of the pandemic”, he explained.
Acknowledging the complexity of agrifood systems as well as environmental & biodiversity issues, he invited participants to focus on cooperating to change the current economic development model making it more sustainable & fostering science & innovation.
“We need to share experiences, learn from each other & build consensus & an inclusive approach between all sectors”, he urged, highlighting the importance of recognizing & applying traditional & indigenous knowledge, as well as new technology.
The Director-General thanked the event organizers Japan, Italy & the United Arab Emirates, for bringing together the presidencies of key multilateral processes in 2023: the G7, UN Food Systems Summit+2 Stocktaking Moment & the UN Climate Conference COP28.
Recently, Japan gathered the G7 leaders & established the Hiroshima Action Statement for Resilient Global Food Security; Italy hosted the UN Food Systems Summit+2 Stocktaking Moment, which brought together 178 Member Nations, partners & experts to renew their commitment to transformative action plans for agrifood systems; & United Arab Emirates, President of COP28, presented the first Leaders’ Declaration on Food Systems to align national food systems & agricultural strategies.
Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs & Development Cooperation of Italy, Edmondo Cirielli, reiterated that Italy is deeply committed to global food security, partnering with the United Nations, FAO, & COP28. During Italy’s G7 presidency, he said, the nation plans to support accelerated food systems transformation, ensure a seamless transition with Japan, & address challenges like securing financial resources & promoting climate-resilient agriculture.
Minister of Climate Change & Environment of the UA, Mariam Almehiri, underscored the need for political will to address food system transformation & climate change, particularly in the lead-up to COP28. She mentioned the importance of various stakeholders, including national leadership, non-state actors, & innovation, in this effort.
Assistant Minister of Foreign Affairs of Japan, Satoshi Katahira, highlighted the escalating risks to food security due to factors like conflicts, pandemics, & climate change, resulting in increased hunger. He said Japan has prioritized food security during its G7 presidency, emphasizing the need for immediate humanitarian assistance & long-term resilience-building efforts.
The UN Deputy Secretary-General, Amina Mohammed, also delivered remarks during the event. She emphasized the importance of integrating food systems with climate action & highlighted the need for coordinated efforts across various sectors & levels of governance. She stressed the significance of collaboration, harnessing scientific knowledge, leveraging resources, & reforming the international financial architecture to address food system challenges.
FAO Director-General Qu kindly invited Ministers to the World Food Forum 2023 where partners will convene a platform with a specific focus on climate action. The meeting will also center around the voices of the youth, Indigenous Peoples, & farmers, & will emphasize the 4 key accelerators leveraging investment, & science & innovation, to achieve the SDGs.
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