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Berlin Ministerial Conference “Uniting for Global Food Security” - Conclusions by the Chairs

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In the run-up to the upcoming G7 Summit at Schloss Elmau, governments, international and regional organizations, multilateral development banks, non-governmental organizations and philanthropists came together in Berlin today to unite for global food security – to take stock of progress made in joint efforts to overcome the global food security crisis, and to join forces in moving ahead in this common endeavor.

The reports by the United Nations Secretary-General’s Global Crisis Response Group on Food, Energy and Finance paint a dramatic picture: of the 1.7 billion people in 107 states impacted by this crisis, 1.2 billion people will be exposed to a perfect storm of the three dimensions of the crisis – constrained finances, sharply increasing food prices, and increasing energy prices. This comes on top of intense droughts in places like the Horn of Africa, and hunger being used as a weapon of war in various conflict areas throughout the world.

Participants noted with grave concern that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is putting food security and nutrition for millions of women, children and men at risk and is further exacerbating the already dire situation regarding global food security, caused amongst others by armed conflicts, climate change and the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Participants shared the conviction that this multi-dimensional crisis requires a joint and effective global response combining diplomacy, humanitarian assistance, development cooperation as well as agricultural and food policies.

Discussions were guided by the conviction that short- and medium-term support must be programmed in a way that leads to a long-term sustainable transformation of agriculture and food systems. It needs to strengthen resilience and thereby reduce humanitarian needs, boost sustainable local production, diversify crops and thereby reduce dependencies on imports.

Participants signaled their readiness to assume responsibility and to continue to cooperate closely in achieving a common goal.

I. Taking stock of progress made

Participants took stock of progress made since February 2022 in the effort to mitigate the global food security crisis.

They welcomed the leadership of the United Nations Secretary-General to coordinate efforts to overcome the crisis through the Global Crisis Response Group on Food, Energy, and Finance.

They also welcomed the G7’s response to the crisis, including most prominently the creation of the Global Alliance for Food Security and the substantive preparations for the upcoming G7 Summit. The Global Alliance for Food Security is designed to be a key platform to foster cooperation, guided by the shared belief that governments, international organizations, multilateral development banks, civil society, the private sector, science and philanthropist organizations must work together to weather this storm.

They welcomed initiatives taken by the African Union for the elimination of hunger and food insecurity in Africa under the Senegalese Presidency, recalling the African Union theme of the year 2022 Strengthening Resilience in Nutrition and Food Security on the African Continent and the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Programme.

Participants renewed their commitment to the roadmap agreed in the framework of the Global Food Security Call to Action organized by the United States in New York on 18 May 2022. Participants called on additional countries to sign the Roadmap and to continue implementing its commitments. They took note of the importance of the Food and Agriculture Resilience Mission (FARM) announced by France, and recalled the outreach to Mediterranean countries through the Mediterranean Ministerial Dialogue on the Food Crisis organized by Italy on 8 June 2022.

Participants looked forward to addressing food security as a core component of agriculture, social, economic, and environmental development under Indonesia’s G20 Presidency. They recalled the G20 Matera Declaration on Food Security, Nutrition and Food Systems promoted under the preceding Italian G20 Presidency.

Participants welcomed the International Financial Institution Action Plan to Address Food Insecurity and the commitment of the multilateral development banks to increase and frontload policy and financial support to countries and households vulnerable to the food security crisis. They underlined the need to sustainably increase local agricultural production in affected countries in line with a transition to sustainable agriculture and food systems.

Referring to the 2021 UN Food Systems Summit, participants emphasized the need to pursue the transformation of agriculture and food systems with increased focus towards more sustainability. The key objective remains to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030.

II. Moving ahead

Participants committed to supporting the United Nations Secretary-General’s efforts to alleviate the global food security crisis through the Global Crisis Response Group on Food, Energy, and Finance.

As a global crisis requires a global response, they committed to forging strong partnerships within the Global Alliance for Food Security and beyond in order to make sure that nobody will be left behind. The Global Alliance for Food Security and its working groups will help to ensure a cohesive international response to the food security crisis and follow up on commitments made by Global Alliance participants.

Participants called on Russia to end the war in Ukraine immediately, to stop its threats to and blockade of Ukrainian ports and all other activities that hamper Ukrainian food production and exports, putting the lives of millions all over the world at risk.

In the short term, participants committed to support the humanitarian system wherever possible in providing urgent humanitarian assistance to people threatened by food insecurity, notably by reinforcing contributions to the World Food Programme and other humanitarian actors and by ensuring respect for humanitarian principles in all measures taken in response to the Russian aggression against Ukraine. Moreover, participants agreed on the need for applying an appropriate balance between humanitarian and development activities, depending on the operational context and needs, and in line with the Humanitarian Development Peace Nexus. Furthermore, participants agreed on the key role that all UN Rome based agencies – FAO, IFAD and WFP – play in driving the international community’s efforts to address food insecurity.

Participants underlined the importance of refraining from inappropriate measures that limit trade, and of avoiding unjustified measures, such as export bans on food or fertilizer, which increase market volatility and threaten food security and nutrition at a global scale.

They committed to continue their support to Ukraine in keeping up its agricultural production, storage, transport and processing, and to support Ukraine and its neighbors in developing additional export routes for agricultural goods in a speedy manner. They acknowledged the need, while doing this, to work on additional and new solutions to keep grain from going to waste.

Participants committed to continue their work on the necessary transformation towards sustainable agriculture and food systems and to support improvements in the global governance of agriculture and food systems, strengthening the role of the Committee on World Food Security as an inclusive and intergovernmental global platform to ensure food security and nutrition for all. The Global Agriculture and Food Security Program is an inclusive, flexible and demand driven multilateral financing instrument with a proven track record coordinating development initiatives at country level to support these efforts.

They underlined the importance of the progressive realization of the human right to adequate food as well as Sustainable Development Goal 2 (Zero Hunger by 2030). All people must be given an opportunity to realize that right. Civil society organizations expressed their willingness to contribute their experience to develop adequate long-term solutions to that goal.

Participants committed to fostering sustainable consumption and an increase in local production in line with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, including the reduction of food loss and waste.

Participants shared the view that farmers need to adapt to climate change to safeguard food security. Moreover sustainable agricultural production should even contribute to the global protection of the climate, contribute to biodiversity, avoid negative impacts on the environment and strengthen the implementation of agroecological and regenerative practices. They underlined the need for locally adapted seeds of better quality and more efficient fertilizer use, including of non-fossil-based fertilizers, as well as access to digital options for farmers.

In order to be better prepared and to mitigate the implications of the next crisis, participants demonstrated readiness to step up capacities in information sharing and early warning, including the provision of additional means. They committed to focus on the goal of a sustainable transformation of agriculture and food systems. A strong and well-functioning multilateral system will be pivotal to reach our goals.