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Chair’s Summary – Session 5 “Response to Multiple Crises on the African Continent – focusing on Food Security” (19 May 2022)

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Chair’s Summary by Svenja Schulze, Germany’s Minister for Development Cooperation in her capacity as Chair of the Session.

  1. The G7 Development Ministers of Canada, France, the EU, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the United States of America convened in Berlin on May 19 under the theme “Response to Multiple Crises on the African Continent – focusing on Food Security”. They were joined by  Ministers from African states, to promote an informed discussion on the different causes and dimensions of food security in Africa: Egypt, Kenya, Nigeria, Senegal, Tunisia and Zambia.  International Organisations relevant to the subject of the session: The African Development Bank (AfDB), the African Union Commission (AUC), the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), the International Monetary Fund, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the World Bank Group (WBG), and the World Food Programme (WFP).

  2. Participants stressed the importance of coordinated action to achieve SDG2 (End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition, and promote sustainable agriculture) on the African continent. They emphasized the expected positive impacts of jointly working towards this achievement for its progress towards other SDGs on the continent, including through addressing poverty alleviation, health, education and gender equality challenges.
    Participants reiterated their commitment to protecting open, inclusive, and rules-based international cooperation that leaves no one behind, and emphasized that a rules-based multilateral system is key to the solution of global challenges such as food insecurity and malnutrition, climate change and a just energy transition, land degradation and biodiversity loss.

  3. The participants noted that the reasons for regression away from SDG2 were multiple and complex, but ultimately resulted in the reduction of food security on the African continent. Representatives from African states, the International Organisations and Multilateral Development Banks reported on the challenges they face in the area of food security and nutrition in their respective regions: all Ministers named the lasting effects of the pandemic, high energy prices, as well as the impacts of climate change and biodiversity loss as important impediments to food security and nutrition. The Sahel region, its neighbouring countries, and the Horn of Africa are currently facing one of the worst droughts of the past decades respectively. Violent conflicts and instability are key drivers of food crises in many African countries.

  4. Due to the importance of the Black Sea region for the global supply of grain and fertilizers, disruptions in global supply chains caused by Russia’s unjustifiable, unprovoked and illegal war of aggression against Ukraine have further aggravated food insecurity in Africa and in particular among the most vulnerable parts of the population. All regions, are and will be significantly affected due to the importance of Russia and Ukraine in many agricultural commodities, and the overall inflationary impacts of Russia’s war of aggression on food, fuel and fertiliser prices. The participants stressed the illegitimacy of any attempts of Russia to use food supply as a means to pursue geopolitical interests. Participants called on countries to mitigate the consequences of the current food crisis, including rising prices for agricultural and food commodities and fertilizers.

  5. Ministers from African states, together with the WFP, called for swift and purposeful support by the G7 Ministers in order to counter the threat of hunger and malnutrition and to strengthen the resilience of the most vulnerable as well as the long-term resilience strengthening of smallholder farmers. G7 Ministers and International Organisations appreciate initiatives for enhancing food security. Participants noted that in support of the United Nations Global Crisis Response Group, the causes and consequences of this food crisis will be addressed through a Global Alliance for Food Security, launched at the G7 Development Ministers meeting, as a joint initiative to ensure momentum and coordination, and other efforts. The Alliance will closely cooperate with international partners and organisations beyond the G7, with the aim of transforming political commitments into concrete actions as planned by various international initiatives such as the Food and Agriculture Resilience Mission (FARM) and key regional outreach initiatives, including towards African and Mediterranean countries. They reaffirmed their commitment to achieve the long-term resilience and sustainability of agricultural and food systems.

  6. The G7 Development Ministers reiterated their commitment to global food security and re-confirmed their goal to help African partner countries lead 500 million people out of hunger and malnutrition by 2030, as decided at the G7 Summit in Elmau in 2015. G7 Development Ministers highlighted the substantial support provided for food security and nutrition in Africa since 2015, and emphasized the need to mobilize further resources to achieve zero hunger, address food insecurity and support the sustainable transformation of agriculture and food systems in partner countries in Africa, including through support to sustainable agricultural approaches such as agroecology. The Global Agriculture and Food Security Programme (GAFSP) was identified as an important inclusive multilateral funding mechanism to support African country food security plans.

  7. The G7 Development Ministers encouraged their African partners to meet the commitment made in the Malabo Declaration of 2014, where member states decided to put further emphasis on increasing efficiency of government budgets allocated to agriculture in a way that maximises outcome and impact towards building a resilient and productive sector, to triple their trade in agricultural products and services, and to engage fully in the Comprehensive Africa Agricultural Development Programme (CAADP). The G7 Development Ministers and International Organisations called on their African partners to take full advantage of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) in order to increase food security and nutrition on the continent. Participants welcomed the upcoming meeting of African Ministers of Agriculture and Ministers of Finance on the African Emergency Food Production Plan organised by the African Union Commission and the AfDB. Participants furthermore welcomed the formation of the Coordination Group of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, Afreximbank, the African Union Commission and the AfCFTA, which aims at pooling procurement for food, fertilizers, and agricultural chemicals that will allow African economies access to items of first necessity at a lower cost. The participants discussed options to strengthen, scale-up and accelerate access to the new technology, climate-resilient seeds and, for the next year, fertilizer acquisition, as well as compensation mechanisms for small-scale farmers for ecosystem services and the provision of food security, and would explore the establishment and operation of a “knowledge network” on agricultural support and incentives in agriculture and food systems.

  8. Welcoming the commitments made at Tokyo Nutrition for Growth Summit 2021, supporting the UN Secretary-General’s statement of action at the 2021 UN Food Systems Summit (UNFSS), and cognizant of the African “Common Position” UNFSS document, all participants emphasized that nothing less than a transformation to sustainable and resilient agriculture and food systems is necessary in order to reverse the trend of rising food insecurity and malnutrition. All participants underscored their willingness to pursue an ambitious follow-up to the UNFSS, including by i) implementing their National Pathways to transform their agriculture and food systems focussing on eradicating hunger and malnutrition, recognizing that there is no one-size-fitsall approach, and ii) engaging in Coalitions for Action, iii) encouraging partners to support or join the Zero Hunger Coalition. Representatives from regional and International Organisations and the G7 emphasized their willingness to support African states in this endeavour and to align and help strengthen existing African agricultural transformation processes. African states committed to redoubling their efforts to transform agricultural systems with the objective to strengthen enhanced trade and food security on the continent.

  9. All participants noted that their contributions to food security and nutrition must simultaneously address climate change, land degradation, loss of biodiversity, and access to nutritious diets, thereby serving the sustainable development goals of the 2030 Agenda, as well as multilateral environment agreements. Egypt, as host of the 2022 UN Climate Change Conference COP27, confirmed the necessity to discuss the role of agriculture for climate change during the UN Climate Change Conference COP27 in Egypt in November 2022.

  10. The G7 Ministers welcomed the engagement and collaboration between the G7 and all invited guests. They decided to continue close collaboration in order to strengthen food security and nutrition on the African continent.