7th MEETING OF THE PRESIDENTS OF THE PARLIAMENTS OF G20 MEMBERS
Food Security and Resilience after COVID-19
Dr QU Dongyu, FAO Director-General
Rome, 8 October 2021
Maria Elisabetta Casellati ，President of the Italian Senate，
Roberto Fico，the President of the Italian Chamber of Deputies，
Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is great honor for me to speak to you in the House of Italy as FAO DG first in the history since 1951 when FAO Headquarter moved from Washington DC to Rome.
1. 2020 marked a turning point for the world for three reasons:
2. First: even before the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic we were off-track to end world hunger and malnutrition by 2030.
3. 811 million people in the world faced hunger in 2020.
4. The pandemic contributed to the largest single-year increase in global poverty and hunger in decades.
5. This means 97 million people more moved to extreme poverty in 2020.
6. And up to 161 million more people faced hunger than in 2019.
7. Second: already before the outbreak of the pandemic, we were off-track to meet the Paris Agreement goal to limit global warming to well below 2 – preferably to 1.5 degrees Celsius – compared to pre-industrial levels.
8. We have sound evidence that greenhouse gas emissions from human activity, industrialization and urbanization, including agriculture and livestock, impact on the climate crisis and are a significant driver of climate change.
9. At the same time, the climate crisis has both direct and indirect effects on agri-food productivity and threatens our ability to ensure global food security, eradicate poverty and achieve sustainable development goals.
10. Agri-food systems are both a victim and a contributor to the climate crisis and must, therefore, be part of the solution.
11. And Third: the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic emphasized the need to redouble efforts to prevent zoonotic infectious diseases.
12. Stepping up implementation of the One Health approach will be key to better address the zoonotic spillover holistically.
13. This brings me to the importance of our meeting today.
14. This meeting is possibly one of the most critical gatherings held under the Italian G20 Presidency.
15. It brings together the officials that can develop policies and legal instruments to address the pressing challenges that we face together, globally.
16. Global access to healthy diets can contribute to reducing the costs related to both health and the climate crisis by 2030.
17. The right incentives can transform agri-food systems from production to consumption.
18. Thereby promoting food security and better nutrition, decreasing food loss and waste, and reducing the carbon footprint of the agri-food sectors.
19. International agricultural trade remains a critical tool to foster global food security.
20. FAO’s flagship match-making, evidence-based, country-led and country-owned Hand-in-Hand Initiative aims to accelerate agricultural transformation and sustainable rural development to eradicate poverty (SDG 1) and end hunger and all forms of malnutrition (SDG2).
21. Italy, as the G20 Presidency, has once again demonstrated outstanding commitment and leadership in the area of food security,
22. By convening the first ever joint meeting of the G20 Ministers for Foreign Affairs and Development.
23. And by implementing the Matera Declaration which renewed and strengthened the G20 political commitment to global food security.
24. The Matera Declaration, together with FAO, initiated the Food Coalition in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
25. The Food Coalition is working to leverage high-level political, financial and technical expertise in supporting country demands.
26. FAO has been supporting the role of Parliamentarians in the fight against hunger and malnutrition for more than a decade.
27. FAO has helped to create Parliamentary Alliances in every region of the world.
28. These alliances have already passed more than 35 laws on school feeding, family farming, the climate crisis, small-scale fisheries, food loss and waste, and many other key areas.
29. FAO recognizes that Parliamentarians are strategic partners as they provide the legal frameworks, approve public budget allocations and ensure government accountability on international commitments.
30. FAO’s technical support to more than 45 Parliamentary Alliances against Hunger in the world was crucial during the pandemic.
31. As it contributed, for example, to the passing of several laws to mitigate the impact of trade and movement restrictions on smallholder farmers.
32. Parliamentarians have been strengthening the political will needed to build back better.
33. Your policy choices guide and influence beyond G20 countries as well.
34. As such, this meeting is an important venue for policy dialogue and launching new initiatives and mechanisms that will have global impact.
35. Coherence in the formulation and implementation of policies and investments among food, health, social protection and environmental systems worldwide is key.
36. By building on existing synergies and working collectively towards more efficient and effective agri-food systems.
37. FAO is committed to continue supporting national and regional parliaments in their efforts to improve food security and poverty elimination through national legislation.
38. Including by facilitating access to technical knowledge and data, and by promoting the exchange of good practices, experiences, and approaches.
39. FAO stands ready to working together with you to achieve MORE efficient, inclusive, resilient and sustainable agri-food systems for better production, better nutrition, better environment, and a better life for all, leaving no one behind.
G20 presidency set People, planet and Prosperity as major topics in 2021. I am here to add three Hs (People need happy, planet need harmony and Prosperity need bumper harvest for farmers).
In italian “quando la gente e felice, io sono felice!” to end my speech.
40. Thank you.
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