16th Berlin Agriculture Ministers’ Conference
Agriculture ministers from around 65 countries met at the 16th Berlin Agriculture Ministers’ Conference which was dedicated to the topic of “Food Systems for Our Future: Joining Forces for a Zero Hunger World” in Berlin, Germany, on the 20th January 2024. Chaired by the German Federal Minister of Agriculture Cem Özdemir, the agriculture ministers agreed to continue the necessary transformation towards sustainable and consequently resilient agriculture and food systems. In their final communiqué, the ministers underlined that this was the only way to make the right to adequate food a reality for everyone across the globe. They recognised that the climate and biodiversity crises had destabilised the world and undertook to support agricultural practices and technologies that strengthen sustainable food production. They also made it clear that Russia’s illegal war of aggression against Ukraine had drastically increased hunger in the world.
“Every tenth person goes to bed hungry. In light of this, we as the international community ought to move even closer together, but instead the world is in danger of splitting into separate factions. We agriculture ministers have sent a clear signal that we cannot and will not accept this. Agricultural policy always also means agricultural diplomacy – only by working together will we achieve food security,” said Federal Minister Özdemir at the conclusion of the conference. “We view ourselves as bridge-builders who can work together to solve apparently contradictory challenges. We will not be able to make the right to food a reality if we rely on increasing production alone, ignoring the climate crisis and the extinction of species – both of these are already threatening the foundation of our agricultural sectors.”
Agriculture ministers were joined at the Berlin Agriculture Ministers’ Conference by high-level representatives of eleven international organisations to discuss how the right to adequate food could be realised.
Key results of the 16th Berlin Agriculture Ministers' Conference:
- Implementing the human right to adequate food
Adequate food must be available, accessible and affordable for all. The ministers aim to reinforce implementing the Voluntary Guidelines on the Right to Food of the UNited Nations Food and Agriculture Organization and raise awareness of the Guidelines.
- Sustainable and resilient transformation of the food systems
The ministers have undertaken to accelerate the transformation towards sustainable, local, site- adapted and resilient agriculture in order to achieve SDG 2 on zero hunger and other 2030 Agenda sustainability goals.
- Climate stewardship and biodiversity
Agroecological approaches, organic farming, agroforestry systems and circular economy will contribute to curbing the climate crisis and biodiversity loss. The ministers aim to support regional cycles, regional supply chains and sustainable consumption.
- Strengthening vulnerable groups
Vulnerable groups are particularly affected by food insecurity, malnutrition and multiple crises, and will therefore be strengthened. Equal participation, in particular for the young generation and for women, is of decisive importance.
- Strengthening the role of women in the agricultural sector
The ministers aim to reduce unequal treatment of women in agriculture – including in managerial positions, and to improve women’s access to land and inputs.
- Strengthening governance
Sustainability needs functional structures. This applies in particular to secure land tenure rights, access to high-quality seed and fair access to financing and rural infrastructure. The ministers aim to create a systemic approach through cross-sectoral coordination and coherence of political measures.
- Halving global food waste
The goal is to drastically reduce food losses and waste along the entire value chain by 2030. To achieve this goal, specific goals need to be supplemented by effective measures; food losses and waste must be measured, and all stakeholders must take committed action – from primary production to private households.
- Improving fertiliser and plant protection product management
The ministers aim to strengthen sustainable fertiliser production and use in order to stabilise yields and avoid world-wide shortages. Fertiliser management will be part of integrated, sustainable land management. The ministers aim to support countries of the Global South in the sustainable production of fertilisers.