ROME, Jul 15 (IPS) – Europe, the United States and other countries have made significant progress in reducing the dramatic impact of COVID-19 in key sectors of the economy and the population. However, in parts of Africa, Latin America, Asia and the Middle East, the devastating effects of the pandemic continue to severely affect these sectors. One sector in particular, that of food and agriculture, has been deeply affected.
This was one of the topics discussed at the meeting of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation ministers held on June 29 in Matera, Italy, as part of the Group of 20 (G20), under the presidency Italian. The topic of food sustainability was discussed during the meeting in view of the continued impacts of COVID-19.
One of the initiatives approved was the creation of a Food Coalition which enables countries, whether multilaterally or bilaterally, to find common paths based on the successful practices that different countries have carried out across the country. throughout this period from early 2020.
The Food Coalition idea sends a clear signal – not every country, on its own, will be able to cope with the hardships the pandemic has caused or worsened.
This initiative is part of a larger internal debate within the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) to identify ways to address the potential worsening of poverty and hunger. due to the effects of the pandemic.
In 2015, more than 150 Heads of State and Government pledged to achieve 17 Sustainable Development Goals by 2030. Two of these goals aim to eradicate poverty and hunger. If no action is taken to recover from the effects of the pandemic, we may not be able to reach our target by then. According to FAO data, more than 100 million additional people could go hungry from COVID-19, further increasing the current figure of 690 million hungry (according to figures announced in July 2020).
On the contrary, if they continue on this path, by 2030, more than 840 million people in the world could die of hunger despite the efforts that have been made to date.
The initiative aims to form a coalition with a common vision that takes into account aspects of food sustainability, health, environment and economy.
The participation of different public and private actors was precisely one of the topics discussed during the aforementioned G20 meeting in Matera. This has resulted in the launch of a call for joint global or regional initiatives which can be summed up at the G20 Agriculture Ministers’ meeting, to be held in mid-September in Florence, Italy.
This process of unifying and coordinating common plans and actions, leaving behind certain areas of isolation generated by COVID-19 between countries and regions, should allow, for example, small producers in less developed countries to ” act directly with the markets of developed countries. It is a consideration that is applied by countries and producer groups in Europe, the United States and some African countries.
In addition, integrating in new peace agreements, for example between Israel and Morocco, the sustainable agriculture and food component and even reviewing existing projects in different countries that have been substantially affected by COVID-19 are viable solutions to go from the front.
Reorienting agricultural and food strategies in the medium and long term by adopting a “one health” approach should also share a similar and complementary vision. The one that focuses on the analysis of health, nutrition, the sustainable future of the planet and animals, to work to get out of the current risky and fragmented reality.
We need to protect biodiversity, promote youth and women’s initiatives in rural areas, avoid food losses that continue to exceed 14 percent of what is produced, and generate new scenarios of food sustainability, among other aspects.
This joint effort of the coalitions should make it possible to reverse the scandalous trend of starvation and obesity (more than 1 billion people are obese, in addition to hundreds of millions of starving people), which makes the quality of food nutrition one of the challenges of the post-pandemic.
This will be one of the topics of discussion at the pre-summit of the Food Systems Summit, to be held in Rome from July 26 to 28, convened by the Secretary-General of the United Nations. Thousands of participants, physically or virtually, from presidents to ministers, academics, representatives of the private sector and civil society, are expected.
The conclusions of the Rome Pre-Summit debates will then be sent to New York in September, where heads of state and government will meet to reach possible common agreements.
Now more than ever, it is time to join forces, to analyze the complexity of the situation, while looking for experiences that have had tangible and positive results throughout this time.
As Pope Francis recently underlined, we must “rethink an economy adapted to men, which is not limited to profit but linked” to the common good, an ethical economy, respectful of the environment.
© Inter Press Service (2021) – All rights reservedOriginal source: Inter Press Service