Remarks by Chargé d’Affaires Jennifer Harhigh at the 2021 Committee on Food Security

Remarks by Chargé d’Affaires Jennifer Harhigh at the 2021 Committee on Food Security, in relation to the FAO report on the State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World 2021, its policy implications and the role of CFS in the Context of COVID-19 

 

Rome, October 12, 2021

Thank you Chair,  

 Before I start, I would like to just take a moment to thank the CFS Chair, Ambassador Thanawat Tiensin for his work these past two years, and especially during these difficult 18 months of Covid-19. On behalf of the United States, we want to thank you.  

  • The SOFI Report makes clear that hunger and malnutrition is becoming increasingly prevalent, with nearly a third of the global population, or 2.3 billion people, lacking access  to adequate food last year, representing an increase of 320 million people in just one year.
  • While we have made progress over the past decade, the convergence of conflict, COVID-19, and climate change threatens many of our gains.  These are challenges that we must work together to overcome.
  • The UN Food Systems Summit brought global attention to the challenges faced by farmers and families throughout the world.  
  • At the Summit, the United States announced an investment of more than $10 billion to promote food systems transformation through innovation and climate-smart agriculture, improved infrastructure for food access and inclusive market opportunities, programs prioritizing women’s and children’s needs, improving nutrition, reducing food loss and waste, and climate change mitigation and adaptation.
  • Of this, the United States will invest $5 billion dollars over the next five years in Feed the Future, the U.S. global hunger and food security initiative.    
  • Partnering with governments, the private sector, local actors, and the broader U.S. Government, Feed the Future aims to contribute to a 20 percent reduction in poverty and child stunting in the areas where Feed the Future works and mitigate the COVID-19 pandemic’s impact.
  • Through this commitment, the United States will help millions of farmers worldwide adapt to climate change; we will promote sustainable fisheries and aquaculture; we will improve childhood nutrition; and we will empower women and young people by creating economic opportunities.  
  • To make real and lasting improvements to our agriculture and food systems, we must support science-based, data-driven decision-making and innovative solutions that are based on new scientific methods, cutting-edge technologies, and sound ecological management.  
  • We must also acknowledge and respect the contributions trade makes to food security and sustainable, resilient food systems.  
  • The CFS can support the outcomes of the Food Systems Summit through the implementation of the ambitious CFS MYPoW and by facilitating the sharing of best practices from countries and coalitions which provide the knowledge necessary to further the transformation to sustainable food systems. 
  • By leveraging evidence-based innovation and science, including biotechnology, we can expand the toolbox for farmers, fishers, foresters, and other producers to improve sustainability and resilience throughout food systems.  
  • This is why I encourage CFS members to join the Coalition for Sustainable Productivity Growth for Food Security and Resource Conservation which was advanced at the Food Systems Summit and will support increased agricultural productivity.  
  • I also encourage you to join the Agricultural Innovation Mission for Climate, or AIM4C, which will be launched at the COP26 in November.
  • This is a landmark initiative to accelerate global agricultural innovation through increased investment in research and development, leading to innovative, science-based solutions to help agriculture mitigate and adapt to climate change.
  • The United States is also launching, along with ILO, IOE, and FAO, the Boosting Youth Engagement and Employment in Agri-Food Systems Coalition, a new 3.5 year fellowship program for female policymakers in Africa, a $60 million research initiative that will contribute to reducing food loss and waste, and along with UNICEF and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, an initiative on Large Scale Food Fortification.
  • The United States is proud to be a leader in agricultural innovation, in adapting our food systems to the impacts of climate change, and in fighting hunger and malnutrition both at home and abroad.  
  • Together we can overcome the challenges of conflict, COVID-19, and climate change to create a more food secure world for current and future generations. Thank you, Chair.