Leaders gathered at the G7 Summit from 26 to 28 June in Germany, where food security was high on the agenda. The G7 Leaders said they “will spare no effort to increase global food and nutrition security and to protect the most vulnerable, whom the food crisis threatens to hit the hardest.”
So, what does this mean in practice in addressing food security?
The Global Alliance for Food Security
Initially introduced at the World Bank Spring Meetings in April, G7 leaders endorsed the Global Alliance on Food Security to tackle the global food crisis triggered, amongst other challenges, from the war in Ukraine. The Alliance states that it will aim to introduce global structures to help developing countries become more self-sufficient, as opposed to being dependent on the global market. It is supported by international organisations, such as the World Food Programme (WFP) and the International Fund for Agricultural Development, and is open to the private sector and civil society organisations.
The $4.5 billion commitment to address food security seeks to build the resilience of affected countries by strengthening agricultural productivity and supporting domestic production. Through the Alliance, G7 leaders also committed to support Ukrainian farmers in producing agricultural products given the ongoing war.
Leaders also emphasised their commitment to continue to align their aims with international agreements such as the Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Agreement. This will be done by increasing support for smallholder farmers worldwide and calling on relevant multilateral organisations to take the lead in this stride.
According to the UN Global Crisis Response Group on Food, Energy and Finance, 323 million people globally could become acutely food insecure or are at high risk of becoming so in 2022.
Growing Calls for Action
In the lead-up to the G7 Summit, leading organisations from across the agri-food sector worldwide have called for urgent action.
The World Bank, International Monetary Fund, WFP and the World Trade Organization released a joint statement ahead of the World Bank Spring Meetings in April. Leaders of the four institutions called on the international community to provide emergency food supplies to vulnerable countries, boost agricultural production, and keep trade flows open.
A group of 26 past World Food Prize Laureates also released an open letter, which called for the global food system to be leveraged to tackle global hunger stemming from climate change, COVID-19 and conflict. The letter was released ahead of the G7 Agriculture Ministers and G7 Foreign Ministers meetings in May: “We look to you, the G7 heads of government, to agree at this year’s G7 Summit on a shared global strategy to reverse the increase in world hunger.”
The SDG2 Advocacy Hub also organised a call for increased investment and aid to ensure access to food across the globe. A joint effort by 24 individuals and organisations, the Hub asked the G7 to lead the response to the humanitarian crisis by investing in programmes to support social protection and to reduce food loss and waste as well as to provide sustainable, nutritious diets for all. The Hub’s call also asked for the Global Alliance on Food Security to be renamed the Global Alliance on Food and Nutrition Security.
Tackling the “Three ‘C’s”
Climate change, COVID-19 and conflict, also known as the “Three C’s”, have outsized impacts on the state of food security around the world. Against the backdrop of ongoing conflicts globally, the COVID-19 pandemic has reversed poverty reduction trends, and climate change and extreme weather events are impacting food production globally.