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ITEM 25: Agriculture Development, Food Security and Nutrition

Statement on behalf of the Group of 77 and China by H.E. Carolyn Rodrigues-Birkett, Ambassador and Permanent Representative, Permanent Mission of the Cooperative Republic of Guyana to the United Nations

16 October


Mr. Chair,

I have the honor to deliver this statement on behalf of the Group of 77 and China.

The objective of our work on this agenda item is to advance progress towards achievement of SDG 2: Zero hunger by 2030 through agriculture development, food security and nutrition. The Group recalls that the 2030 Agenda places the eradication of poverty and hunger among its core priorities and identifies sustainable agriculture and food systems as key drivers of sustainable development.

This year marks the 75th Anniversary of the founding of the FAO and today we commemorate World Food Day under the theme "Grow, nourish, sustain. Together. Our actions are our future." We laud the work of the FAO over these many years and reaffirm our support for this agency.

As we take stock of our progress towards this noble objective, we rely on the report: State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World 2020: Transforming Food Systems for Affordable Healthy Diets. This report contains alarming facts which demand that today more than ever we continue to implement SDG 2. It tells us that 5 years into the 2030 Agenda we are not on track to achieve zero hunger. In fact, there is an ongoing reversal of our progress and we are back to 2015 hunger levels.

The report estimates "that there are nearly 690 million people in the world, or 8.9 percent of the world population, who are hungry - up 10 million people in one year and nearly 60 million in five years. If recent trends continue, the number of people affected by hunger would surpass 840 million by 2030. A preliminary assessment suggests that the COVID-19 pandemic, under different economic growth scenarios, could add between 83 and 132 million people to the total number of undernourished in the world in 2020." The report estimates an additional 16 percent of the world population, or more than 1.25 billion people, have experienced food insecurity at moderate levels. This means they do not have regular access to nutritious and sufficient food, even if not necessarily suffering from hunger.

The Group of 77 and China recognizes that lack of means of implementations, trade barriers, economic slowdown, conflict, and the adverse effects of climate change are the leading factors contributing to a reversal of the longer-term progress in fighting global hunger, making more difficult the prospect of ending hunger and all forms of malnutrition by 2030.

These challenges have been exacerbated by the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, the extraordinary measures employed to stem its spread and the resultant economic impacts that have exposed significant vulnerabilities in many contemporary food systems.

Mr. Chair, as evidence continues to signal a rise in world hunger, in this Decade of Action, Delivery and Nutrition, we must take concerted multilateral action to reverse these trends.

The Group believes that efforts must start with ensuring sustainable agriculture and food systems, as well as with the empowerment of rural people, small-scale food producers, in particular women, indigenous peoples, family farmers, pastoralists and fishers. These groups have the potential to help us double agricultural productivity and build resilience in food production systems, while eradicating poverty and promoting prosperity. This pandemic has reminded us of the urgent need for sustainable food systems that reliably deliver safe, nutritious and affordable food.

In this same vein, the Group shares the view that increased investments, including in transformative technologies, and partnership initiatives can optimize the mobilization and coordination of the resources needed to enhance capacity for agricultural productivity. As identified in both the 2030 Agenda and the Addis Abba Action Agenda, investments in agriculture are crucial to help improve the sector's productivity. To this end, we anticipate the convening of the United Nations Food Systems Summit in 2021, and fully support its objectives.

Agriculture remains the dominant sector in terms of GDP, exports and employment in many developing countries. Therefore, a universal, open, non-discriminatory and equitable multilateral trading system is necessary to facilitate access to nutritious, affordable food and increase food security. The Group emphasizes that agricultural trade can contribute to achieving the SDGs in many ways and we are committed to resolving the issues afflicting the WTO, in particular, concluding the reform of agricultural trade rules in accordance with its mandate towards the 12th WTO Ministerial Conference.

Finally, the Group asserts the absolute importance of this agenda item and renews our commitment to engage fruitfully and in good faith with our partners in development.

I thank you.


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