World leaders vow to counter food crises and misinformation
On Tuesday (September 20) leaders from Europe, America and Africa called for immediate action and funding to alleviate the growing global food crisis, exacerbated by the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the impact of climate change and misinformation.
At a global food security summit on the sidelines of the annual UN General Assembly, world leaders are calling for an end to war while discussing food shortages, a major cause of conflict and instability.
According to the United Nations, nearly a fifth of humanity is at risk of poverty and hunger: the availability and cost of food is therefore a pressing problem that has been intensifying since the beginning of the year.
According to the final declaration – signed by Spain, the United States, the African Union, the EU, Colombia, Germany, Indonesia and Nigeria – the leaders pledged to increase financial and humanitarian aid to needy countries, stimulate fertilizer production to alleviate bottlenecks and accelerate efforts to support sustainable agriculture and food systems.
triggering a food crisis
Via video link, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy accused Moscow of deliberately creating a food crisis.
« Any state that causes famine, that tries to make access to food a privilege, that tries to make the protection of nations from famine conditional […] out of the pity of every dictator, this state must evoke the harshest reaction from the rest of the worldsaid Mr. Zelensky.
He blamed Russian blockades and others “immoral actsReduce exports from Ukraine, a major agricultural producer. “Russia must take responsibility‘ he explained.
Ukraine is one of the largest grain producers in the world and the Russian invasion of the country has sent world prices skyrocketing.
Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said Russian President Vladimir Putin “trying to blackmail the international community».
«Russia must end its illegal war against Ukraine, which is certainly a key source of world food securityMr. Sanchez said during the meeting.
«There is no peace with hunger, and we cannot fight hunger without peace“, he added.
Joining Sanchez were Senegalese President Macky Sall, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, Colombian President Gustavo Petro and US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who replaced President Joe Biden.
The “Russian Lies”
European Council President Charles Michel opened the summit by denouncing what he called “Russian lies“, according to which Ukrainian grain would not reach the countries that need it most.
Russia, a member of the United Nations, has blamed Western sanctions, a claim denounced by Washington, who claims they are not targeting agricultural or humanitarian products.
«Contrary to false information spread by Russia, these foods are shipped to Africa, the Middle East and Asiasaid Charles Michel.
The current food crisisaffects all countries and we need to tailor our response to local needs‘ he said, adding that more than 200 million people ‘acute need for food».
«That’s not acceptable, that’s not sustainable. Famine threatens many parts of the world‘ said Mister Michel.
«We must not believe disinformation from Russia», added Federal Chancellor Olaf Scholz.
«The data clearly shows that the majority of grain exports go to developing and emerging countries, and this has global implications for grain availability and prices“, he added.
In July, Turkey and the United Nations negotiated an agreement between Russia and Ukraine that would allow ships carrying grain to cross the Black Sea despite the blockade.
Mr Putin recently criticized the deal, pointing the finger at the supplies going to Europe. US officials say some of the grain is then processed and sent to poorer countries.
«Despite the disinformation that continues to spread from Moscow, this grain and other foodstuffs get to where they are needed, to the countries that need them most, mainly the countries of the South.said US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken.
«It has also contributed to lower food prices around the world. This process must therefore be continued and renewed. It’s urgent,” he added.
Additional commitments are required
US officials said the goal of the summit is to build on the commitment to global food security articulated at a meeting of G7 leaders in June and a state-led ministerial meeting in May, when the country held the presidency of the United Nations Security Council.
The G7 in June pledged $5 billion to tackle food insecurity.
In his speech on Tuesday, French President Emmanuel Macron said his country would fund shipments of Ukrainian wheat to famine-stricken Somalia.
Italy hosts a conference on the humanitarian situation with a focus on food security in the Horn of Africa on Wednesday. Communities are at risk of starvation in parts of Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia, the UN says.
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