Group of Friends of Food Security and Nutrition
01 February 2023
Opening remarks by the Permanent Representative of Italy, Ambassador Maurizio Massari
Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen, dear colleagues,
Good morning and welcome to this meeting of the Group of Friends of Food Security and Nutrition, the first of this important year ahead of us. As Chair of this Group, I am very pleased to note that once again the Group of Friends meeting has caught the interest of many Member States. In line with the practice of the last meetings, given the high priority attached to Food Security and Nutrition and the ongoing and increased challenges to global food security, we decided to open this meeting to the whole UN Membership, as a show of inclusivity, unity and multilateral cooperation.
We strongly believe that the world can and must still remain united to fight food insecurity and hunger, especially at these critical times, where up to 828 million people in world are hungry. In this regard, the Black Sea Grain Initiative continues to represents the “beacon of hope” to prove this point and we continue to support the efforts of the Secretary General, the UN and all the parties, as also expressed in the recent GA Resolution on Agriculture, Food Security and Nutrition, also towards the renewal of the initiative.
Acute food insecurity has reached unprecedented highs, affecting a record 349 million people with 193 million people in 53 countries and territories facing high levels of acute food insecurity.
We all know the causes and the context all so well (conflicts, economic shocks including food prices and inflation, climate change, the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and the global impact of the war in Ukraine), but today’s discussion aims to focus on action, on solutions, on partnerships to address this food crisis and opportunities to accelerate the transformation towards more resilient and sustainable food systems globally, with priority given to the most vulnerable people and the most vulnerable countries.
This is a priority that Italy is continuing to promote in Rome, in New York and in all partner Countries. This year, especially, as ECOSOC Vice President and Chair of the Humanitarian Affairs Segment, we are working to ensure that Food Security will be at the center, fully addressed and mainstreamed. We are also planning, in this regard, a number of joint initiatives in partnership with all the relevant actors that will be announced soon.
In this year rich of multilateral Summits, from the upcoming LDC 5 Conference in Doha to the SDG Summit and related Summits in September and COP 28, we must ensure that Food Security and Nutrition are fully mainstreamed and addressed, as a political priority.
Very soon, we will also now more about the upcoming and very important Stock-taking Moment of the UN Food Systems Summit, which will be a key milestone towards the SDG Summit, in which we will all certainly engage proactively.
Today we have a very rich agenda before us, as we gathered our best allies and partners in the UN System and in the multilateral sector. I am very pleased to welcome to New York the Deputy Director General of FAO, Beth Bechdol, and to welcome back the distinguished representative from WFP, IFAD, the IMF and the World Bank.
We thought that this format is ideal to highlight ongoing key partnerships for sustainable transformation and the most recent developments in addressing the food crisis with all the necessary financial, technical and political means. We would like to focus on the most recent developments and actions and to see which contributions can be further given to accelerate action.
The presentation will be followed by an interactive discussion with you all, so I encourage everyone to be as short and concise as possible.