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Global Food Security Summit: Food security is the major global challenge

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Remarks by President Charles Michel at the Global Food Security Summit in New York

Welcome to today’s Global Food Security Summit.

A special thanks to my colleagues who are here with me today: President Sall of Senegal and Chair of the African Union, Prime Minister Sánchez, President of the Government of Spain and Secretary of State Blinken from the United States. Together we will co-chair this event. Let me thank you for your participation in this important meeting.

Food security is the major global challenge today. Today’s global food crisis is being exacerbated by Russia’s war against Ukraine. It impacts every country, and we need to adapt our response to local needs.

Over 200 million people in the world are in acute need of food, and even more may lose their lives to hunger. This is not acceptable; this is not sustainable. Famine is looming in many parts of the world, and now is the time for all of us to translate our political commitments into concrete action.

This crisis goes far beyond food. In fact, we are facing a cost of living crisis,  a crisis caused by the ‘perfect storm’ of food, energy and economic challenges.

We represent together the different regions of the world, and we must harness the momentum of each initiative: the Global Alliance on Food Security, the Roadmap – Call to Action, FARM, or the African Emergency Food Production Facility, and others.

We are here together to find solutions collectively, together with Africa and together with the rest of the world. We need more coordination, we need more money, and in the European Union, we are stepping up our efforts. With our Member States, we have put forward a comprehensive Global Food Security Response of nearly 8 billion euros until 2024 to provide humanitarian relief along with short-term and longer-term solutions, especially to countries most in need, particularly in Africa.

And getting grains out of Ukraine has been one of our top priorities. Our EU-Ukraine Solidarity Lanes have carried more than 10 million tonnes of food products, and the UN-led Black Sea Grain Initiative is making a real difference. It is getting food to countries most in need and helping to stabilise markets. And contrary to Russia’s disinformation, this food is getting to Africa, the Middle East and Asia.

Another priority is to tackle the shortage of fertilisers. We need to develop capacities for production, especially in Africa.

What we did with vaccine manufacturing capacities can be, and in my opinion should be, an inspiration. I launched this idea at our G7 meeting in Germany with the participation of Macky Sall and Cyril Ramaphosa. None of us can do this alone. We know that the United States also launched the Global Fertiliser Challenge. We need to get others on board — donors, governments, banks and private companies. We need to make sure all our global initiatives are well coordinated and tailored to the needs of the most vulnerable.

Russia’s war against the people of Ukraine is a test, a test of our international rules-based order. And we are here this afternoon to rally the forces that believe in global cooperation to make the world a better and safer place.

We trust the United Nations, which has a central role in coordinating the international response to this crisis. I am convinced that only together will we make progress. I am convinced that only together will we get the job done. Thank you.
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