Farmers queue at a registration point to receive assistance during the cropping season, Somalia, May 2020. COVID-19 poses a threat to agri-food systems.
Photo: ©FAO

An alliance to fight against food crisis

The newly launched Food Coalition aims to build a global alliance with a network of national governments, international organisations, thought leaders, civil societies and the private sector working together for a unified global action in response to risks COVID-19 poses to agri-food systems.

To strengthen concerted action to prevent the COVID-19 international health emergency from triggering a catastrophic world food crisis, the Food Coalition was launched by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) in November 2020.

The Food Coalition is a voluntary, multi-stakeholder and multi-sectoral alliance set up to support innovative initiatives to ensure global food access, increase the resilience of agri-food systems and put them on a more sustainable course.

More than 30 countries interested in joining the Food Coalition

First suggested by the Government of Italy and with more than 30 countries having already expressed interest in joining, the Food Coalition will support existing and future efforts to overcome the pandemic's disruptive impacts and help countries get back on track to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030, particularly those of ending hunger and poverty.

Interest in the Food Coalition is notable among members of the G-20, indicating a potential resource and advocacy base in terms of expertise, policy commitment and funding mobilisation.

Ministers from, Costa Rica, Israel, Italy and Nigeria participated in the panel discussions during the launch, as well as ambassadors from China, the Russian Federation and the United States of America.

The current health crisis will have long-term effects on food security 

COVID-19 may add up to 132 million more people to the ranks of the world's undernourished this year, on top of the 690 million hungry people in 2019 - highlighting the challenge that the pandemic poses to the eradication of hunger by 2030.

Moreover, the current health crisis will have long-term effects on food security, affecting production, farmers' health and access to markets, rural jobs and livelihoods, triggering decreasing food supply and demand in rural and urban areas alike, with adverse nutritional results, said FAO Director-General QU Dongyu.

Against this background, the Food Coalition aims to work for a unified global action in response to COVID-19 and the risks to agri-food systems it poses. The alliance involves a devoted trust fund and a web-based hub allowing participants to access a basket of project-focused information and data, as well as the funding and types of assistance needed for many on-the-ground projects.

Dealing with crises triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic

FAO has elaborated Action Sheets to provide specific details and these will continually be updated. Areas of focus range from integrated social protection policies in Latin America, supporting agricultural migrant workers in Central Asia and Eastern Europe and boosting capacities to address Antimicrobial Resistance in Africa.

In July, FAO released a COVID-19 Response and Recovery Programme that is designed around seven priority areas of work to help countries deal with immediate crises triggered by the pandemic, and also to prepare for recovery and building-back better agri-food systems. The Food Coalition will leverage high-level political, financial and technical support to enable timely and robust actions that meet country-level needs and demands identified through the Programme.


Read more at FAO website

FAO Big Data tool on Covid-19 impact on food value chains

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