Joint statement by the heads of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank Group, the World Food Program and the World Trade Organization on the global crisis of Food Safety


Joint statement by the heads of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank Group, the World Food Program and the World Trade Organization on the global crisis of Food Safety







July 15, 2022















Washington D.C.: Qu Dongyu, Director General of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), Kristalina Georgieva, Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), David Malpass, President of the World Bank Group (WBG) , David Beasley, Executive Director of the World Food Program (WFP) and the World Trade Organization (WTO) Director General Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala has released the following joint statement calling for urgent action to address the global food crisis Food Safety.

The COVID-19 pandemic, the disruption of international supply chains and the war in Ukraine have severely disrupted the interdependent food, fuel and fertilizer markets. In June 2022, the number of acutely food insecure people – whose short-term access to food has been limited to the point that their lives and livelihoods are at risk – rose to 345 million in 82 countries according to the WFP. Worse still, around 25 countries reacted to rising food prices by adopting export restrictions affecting more than 8% of global food trade.[1] Further complicating the food supply response is the doubling of fertilizer prices over the past twelve months, reflecting record high input costs such as natural gas. Global stocks, which have steadily increased over the past decade, need to be released to bring prices down. All of this is happening at a time when fiscal space for government action is already severely constrained as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Beyond the short term, climate change is structurally affecting agricultural productivity in many countries.

Avoiding further setbacks in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals requires short- and long-term actions in four key areas: (i) providing immediate support to vulnerable people, (ii) facilitating international food trade and supply food, (iii) stimulate production and (iv) invest in climate-resilient agriculture.


  • Provide immediate support to vulnerable people:

    Rapidly strengthening safety nets for vulnerable households at the national level and ensuring that WFP has sufficient resources to serve those most in need is a priority. WFP operations should be facilitated by actions such as the recent agreement by WTO members not to impose export restrictions on its purchases of food for humanitarian purposes. Unless well targeted, energy and food subsidies are costly and inefficient. They should be replaced by cash transfers that only reach the most vulnerable. Over time, effective social protection systems can be extended to cover more people. The best systems include strong targeting and efficient registration, delivery and payment systems, often leveraging technology.


  • Facilitate trade and international food supply:

    In the short term, releasing stocks, as needed and in accordance with WTO rules, and finding a diplomatic solution to evacuate grain and fertilizers currently stuck in Ukraine, will help improve availability and affordability. food supplies. Facilitating trade and improving the functioning and resilience of global markets for food and agriculture, including grains, fertilizers and other agricultural production inputs, are essential, as stated in the Ministerial Declaration of the on Food Security Emergency Response. The 2008 crisis taught us that the imposition of global trade restrictions directly leads to higher food prices. Removing export restrictions and adopting more flexible inspection and licensing processes helps to minimize supply disruptions and lower prices. It will be essential to increase transparency through notifications to the WTO and to improve the monitoring of trade measures.

  • Boost production:

    Action is needed to encourage farmers and fishers to boost sustainable food production – in both developing and developed countries – and to improve the supply chains that connect them to the eight billion consumers around the world. world. This requires affordable fertilizers, seeds and other inputs through the private sector as the main player in these markets. Providing working capital to competitive producers is also a key priority. Going forward, the dissemination of knowledge on best practices by FAO, the WBG and others will be key to increasing the efficient use of fertilizers through the rapid deployment of soil maps, extension services and technologies for precision farming. This will provide producers with the know-how needed to maintain production levels and promote the sustainable use of natural resources.

  • Investing in agriculture resilient to climate change:

    Supporting resilient investments in agricultural capacities and providing support for adaptation, smallholder farming, food systems and climate-smart technologies are key to developing resilient climate-smart agriculture that will ensure stable production in years to come. Work on standards and standard setting for food safety and on value chain infrastructure (storage facilities, cooling facilities, banking infrastructure and insurance infrastructure) are also important to increase the access and reduce inequalities.

Past experience shows the importance of helping developing countries hit by price spikes and shortages meet their urgent needs without derailing longer-term development goals. Ensuring that the most vulnerable countries facing significant balance of payments problems can cover the cost of rising food import bills is essential to minimize any risk of social unrest. Development finance should provide clients with viable alternatives to inward-looking policies such as export bans or general fertilizer import subsidies. Investments in scalable safety nets, climate-resilient agriculture, and sustainable fisheries and aquaculture are good win-win examples.

We call on countries to strengthen safety nets, facilitate trade, boost production and invest in resilient agriculture. Specific country needs should be identified and defined through a national process that mobilizes investments from multilateral development banks to connect short, medium and long-term opportunities. And we commit to working together to support this process through the Global Alliance for Food Security, jointly convened by the G7 Presidency and the WBG, to monitor the drivers and impact of rising prices and help to ensure that investment, funding, data and best-practice knowledge are available to the countries that need them.

contacts:

The World Bank Group:
David Theis, [email protected]

IMF:
Nicolas Mombrial, [email protected]

CAM:
FAO News and Media, [email protected]

WTO:
Bernard Kuiten, [email protected]

MAP:
George Fominyen, [email protected]



[1]

As of June 30, 2022 and based on WTO, Global Trade Alert and World Bank monitoring of trade policy changes since February 2022.


IMF Communications Department
MEDIA RELATIONS

PRESS OFFICER: Nicolas Mombrial

Call: +1 202 623-7100E-mail: [email protected]

@IMF Spokesperson




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