The G20 Foreign Affairs and Development Ministers' meeting that took place in late June 2021 in Matera, Italy, focused on food security and nutrition.
As the COVID-19 pandemic started, nearly one in ten people in the world were exposed to severe levels of food insecurity. The economic slow-down caused by the pandemic raises more concerns over global food security, since the access to food by the poorest and most vulnerable is significantly affected by unemployment and income loss.
The Foreign Affairs and Development Ministers' meeting culminated in the Matera Declaration on food security, nutrition and food systems. A call to action in the time of the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond - a declaration by the G20 Ministers, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and other UN agencies and partners.
The signatories "agree to deliver on food security priorities by enhancing efforts in ensuring safe and adequate nutrition for all, ending all forms of malnutrition, preserving agrobiodiversity, as well as relying on science, innovation, advanced business practices and responsible behaviour complementing traditional knowledge, local food culture and best practices in order to achieve SDG 2 targets".
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 Crises (an international alliance of the UN, the EU, governmental and non-governmental agencies working to tackle food crises together, founded in 2016), to reach the objectives of the Matera Declaration.
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 mobilise 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 mobilise political, financial and technical assistance in support of countries affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
On the occasion of the G20 Joint Meeting of Ministers of Foreign Affairs and Development, FAO launched the 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.
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.
Read more at FAO website