G20 vows for food security, combating Covid-19

New Delhi, Jun 30 (FN Agency) Reflecting India’s concern for food security, foreign and development ministers from the Group of 20 major economies have pledged to boost investment, build inclusive and resilient food chains and ensure adequate nutrition for all, in line with the “Zero Hunger” goal set for 2030. Meeting in Matera, Italy, the ministers on Tuesday vowed to maintain transparent and non-discriminatory food trade in line with World Trade Organization rules. They called for stronger multilateral coordination in fighting the COVID-19 pandemic. “We…convened here in Matera to contribute to strengthening international efforts to contain the effects of the pandemic on lives and livelihoods and to build forward better,” said the ministers in a declaration after the meeting. They expressed “deep concern” over food shortage situations said to have been exacerbated by the spread of the novel coronavirus around the world. “Covid has impacted the fight against poverty, hunger and disease across the world.

It has pushed back the global development agenda, increasing vulnerability in many societies,” External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar said at the meeting. “India is today at the forefront of the response, giving food support to 800 million citizens, ” he said, adding that the Matera Declaration reflected the Indian concern for the welfare of small & medium farmers, promoting local food cultures and recognising agri-diversity. Jaishankar said livelihood, health, digital access and climate action should now constitute the new developmental priorities. It was the first in-person meeting of the ministers from the G-20, which represents more than 80 per cent of the world economy and three-quarters of global trade, since 2019. A joint meeting involving development ministers was also held to discuss providing assistance to Africa, leading to the Matera Declaration’s emphasis on food security issues.

The EAM, taking part in that meeting, said India will work closely with African countries on health and food security, responding to the Covid impact. “Our development projects will continue to progress, especially in power, water, agriculture and IT, ” he said. According to the declaration, the ministers underscored the importance of accelerating digital transformation and innovation to ensure sustainability in agriculture while appropriately protecting intellectual property rights and data privacy. They vowed to speed up the adapting of agriculture and the food system to conditions brought about by climate change, recognising that the Earth’s warming represents one of the factors driving the rise in global hunger. The ministers also called for actions for the empowerment of women and youth through education and creating opportunities for entrepreneurship, noting the struggles caused by a loss of work opportunities especially in rural areas amid the pandemic. The event laid the groundwork for a G-20 summit slated for October in Rome.