Author Liu Wenwen
Qu Dongyu, Director-General of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), Kristalina Georgieva, Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund, David Malpass, President of the World Bank Group, World Food Programme (WFP) ) Executive Director David Beasley and World Trade Organization (WTO) Director-General Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala recently issued a joint statement calling for urgent action to address the global food security crisis.
The Covid-19 pandemic, disruptions to international supply chains and the war in Ukraine have severely disrupted the closely-linked food, fuel and fertilizer markets. The number of people facing severe food insecurity in 82 countries has risen to 345 million by June 2022, according to WFP. These people have difficulty accessing food in the short term, putting their lives and livelihoods at risk.
At the same time, some 25 countries have imposed export restrictions in response to rising food prices, affecting more than 8% of the world‘s food trade, making the situation worse. In addition, the food supply situation is further complicated by the doubling of fertilizer prices in the past 12 months as the cost of inputs such as natural gas has hit a record high. Global grain stocks, which have grown steadily over the past decade, must be released to lower prices. At present, the Covid-19 pandemic has severely limited fiscal space for governments; in the longer term, climate change has a structural impact on agricultural production levels in many countries.
To prevent further setbacks in progress towards the SDGs, short- and long-term action is needed in four key areas: immediate support for vulnerable groups; boosting trade and international food supplies; increasing production; investing Develop climate-resilient agriculture.
Experience shows that there is an urgent need to support developing countries affected by rising prices and supply shortages to meet their immediate needs without compromising long-term development goals. It is critical to ensure that the most vulnerable countries facing serious balance of payments problems can absorb the cost of increased food import bills to minimize the risk of social unrest. Development finance should provide clients with viable alternatives to self-only inward-looking policies such as export bans or fertilizer import packages. Investing in scalable safety nets, climate-resilient agriculture, and sustainable fisheries and aquaculture is an example of how all parties can work together to achieve win-win outcomes.
“We call on countries to strengthen safety nets, boost trade, increase production and invest in climate-resilient agriculture,” said the heads of the five agencies. Country-specific needs should be clearly defined through a country-led process. This will facilitate the mobilization of multilateral development banks to carry out investment and fully seize short-, medium- and long-term opportunities. We pledge to support this process together through the Global Alliance for Food Security, co-sponsored by the G7 presidency and the World Bank Group, to monitor the drivers and impacts of price increases, and to help ensure that investment, financing, data and the most efficient delivery are available to countries in need. Best practice knowledge.