Deputy Chief of Mission Jennifer Harhigh’s Remarks at the 170th FAO Council
Rome, June 14, 2022
Thank you, Chair.
We thank FAO for its timely analysis and policy recommendations on the effects of Russia’s war of choice in Ukraine.
Thanks in particular to Chief Economist Maximo Torero and his team for their steadfast work.
We reaffirm FAO’s reports that Russia’s war in Ukraine is devastating global markets and food supplies.
This crisis is touching lives across the globe, but it is the world’s most vulnerable people who will pay the heaviest price. Soaring food prices and limited humanitarian resources are pushing communities to the brink.
The United States is doing its part to lead a global response. Our Congress recently approved over $5 billion dollars in new funding to address food security around the globe in the worst-affected countries, showcasing America’s commitment to doing everything we can to mitigate the effects of this emergency.
We will have news soon about how this assistance will be allocated.
The United States also provides approximately $1 billion per year through the Feed the Future initiative to reduce poverty, hunger, and malnutrition in over 35 countries, with programming in many of the countries most vulnerable to increases in food and fertilizer prices.
We encourage others with the means to follow suit with funding or in-kind contributions. The time to act is now.
The United States reaffirms the vital role of the United Nations system in responding to the global food security crisis, in particular through the work of FAO, WFP, and IFAD.
We underscore the importance of close coordination among UN agencies throughout the emergency portion of this response to ensure comprehensive food security programming that addresses nutrition, health, water, sanitation, and hygiene.
FAO must build on the commitments from last month’s Global Food Security Ministerial Event and work jointly to mitigate the mid-term and long-term impacts of recent shocks to global agriculture and food systems.
In doing so, FAO should leverage its convening power, Private Sector engagement, and its participation in the UN Secretary General’s Crisis Group.
Meanwhile, global markets must remain open and transparent to ensure all countries have access to sufficient food and critical agricultural inputs such as fertilizer.
We have already seen many countries taking measures—like export restrictions–that lead to more uncertainty and instability. Protectionism does more harm than good, and we urge open trade.
We further call on FAO to continue closely monitoring agricultural markets and to increase market transparency by sharing reliable and timely data on global food market developments.
We seek to work with FAO and many of you in this room to improve fertilizer data, increase fertilizer use efficiency, improve soil mapping, and invest in research and development, all of which could help alleviate spiking fertilizer prices.
I must address the disinformation campaign currently underway. Russia’s attempts to blame others for the consequences of its actions is quite simply despicable. Claims that sanctions targeted against Russia’s elite are the problem are categorically false.
U.S. sanctions on Russia specifically allow transactions involving humanitarian commodities, including the export of food, fertilizer, seed, and medicine from Russia.
Lastly, we reiterate our call on Russia to immediately cease all military activities, including all occupation and blockage of terrestrial and maritime agricultural transport routes.
Russia must put an end to the war and restore food supply chains. Russia must stop using the world’s food supply as a weapon.
This is the quickest way to stop this global food crisis and prevent further devastation.