The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations ( FAO) Director General Qu Dongyu and the G20 Presidency, Italy's Minister of Foreign Affairs, Luigi Di Maio, spoke after the G20 meetings held in Matera in Italy, highlighting needs and actions to eradicate hunger and poverty.
The G20 Foreign Affairs and Development Ministers and FAO - through the Matera Declaration - encouraged "partners and stakeholders to collaborate with or join the Food Coalition launched by FAO whose goal is to build a global alliance to trigger coordinated action in response to COVID-19, with a focus on the thematic priorities identified in this Matera Declaration around food security, nutrition and food systems, and to mobilize political, financial, policy and technical support based on needs and demands of developing countries, with a focus on smallholder farmers, women and youth."
Proposed by the Government of Italy and led by FAO, the Food Coalition is a multi-stakeholder, multi-sectoral mechanism that aims to mobilize political, financial and technical assistance in support of countries affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
SOUNDBITE ( English) Qu Dongyu, FAO Director-General, “ As Food Coalition is initiated by the Italian government, FAO takes the leading role to promote it globally. Let’s work together to end hunger, end poverty, and build the solidarity of the global human-being.”
FAO is launching "Food Coalition - Call for proposals" encouraging all its Members to join efforts and submit proposals offering their support in response to needs on the ground.
SOUNDBITE ( English) Qu Dongyu, FAO Director-General, “ I think FAO will play our part and we will work together based on science. As I said earlier this year at the Italian Academy, let’s work together, transform more efficient, more inclusive, more resilient and more sustainable agro-food system for better production, better nutrition, better environment and better life, leaving no one behind.”
A number of FAO Members and non-state actors with the technical support of FAO have already taken steps to build cross-county coalitions around priority topics such as: reducing food loss and waste; transforming agri-food systems; improving farmers' access to markets and credits; adopting the One Health approach - all with the aim of responding to concrete needs and demands on the ground.
SOUNDBITE ( Italian ) Luigi Di Maio, Italy’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, “Today we are here to reiterate the willingness to build a better world. One without hunger. A world where enough, nutritious food is available to everyone. This is a commitment we all need to take in order to break the vicious circle of hunger and malnutrition.”
SOUNDBITE ( Italian) Luigi Di Maio, Italy’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, “The Food Coalition is a global alliance focusing on medium and long term solutions to address the issues of vulnerable food systems. This will contribute to prevent new crisis by reinforcing the capacity of food economies to respond to external emergencies. Italy believes in this initiative and has decided to contribute with 10 milion euro.”
The Matera Declaration also called for the promotion of a science-based holistic One Health approach - which recognises the strong links between humans, animals and the environment and the need to tackle global health threats holistically.
In addition, the signatories of the Declaration committed to leveraging opportunities such as the 2021 UN Food Systems' Summit - described as having the "potential to improve the sustainability of food systems" - and to explore existing initiatives, including the Global Network against Food Crisis (an international alliance of the UN, the EU, governmental and non-governmental agencies working to tackle food crises together, founded by EU, FAO and WFP in 2016) to reach the objectives of the Matera Declaration.
G20 press release: http://www.fao.org/news/story/en/item/1413669/icode/