Food security is the greatest global challenge –

Remarks by President Charles Michel at the Global Food Security Summit in New York

Welcome to today’s Global Food Security Summit.

Special thanks to my colleagues who are with me today: President Sall of Senegal and Chairman of the African Union, Prime Minister Sánchez, President of the Spanish Government, and Foreign Minister Blinken of the United States. Together we will moderate this event. Let me thank you for attending this important meeting.

Food security is the greatest global challenge today. Today’s global food crisis is being exacerbated by Russia’s war against Ukraine. It affects every country and we must adapt our response to local needs.

Over 200 million people around the world are in dire need of food, and more could die from starvation. This is unacceptable; that is not sustainable. Famine is looming in many parts of the world and now is the time for all of us to translate our political commitments into concrete action.

This crisis goes well beyond food. Indeed, we are facing a cost of living crisis, a crisis caused by the “perfect storm” of food, energy and economic challenges.

We collectively represent the different regions of the world and we must use the momentum of each initiative: the Global Alliance on Food Security, the Roadmap – Call to Action, FARM or the African Emergency Food Production Facility and others.

We are here to find solutions together, together with Africa and together with the rest of the world. We need more coordination, we need more money, and in the European Union we are stepping up our efforts. Together with our Member States, we have proposed a comprehensive global food security response of almost €8 billion by 2024 to provide humanitarian assistance and short-term and longer-term solutions, particularly to the countries most in need, particularly in Africa.

And getting grain out of Ukraine was one of our top priorities. Our EU-Ukraine Solidarity Lanes have carried more than 10 million tonnes of food and the UN-led Black Sea Grain Initiative is making a real difference. It brings food to the neediest countries and helps stabilize markets. And contrary to Russian disinformation, this food is making its way to Africa, the Middle East and Asia.

Another focus is combating the shortage of fertilizers. We need to build production capacity, especially in Africa.

What we’ve done with the vaccine manufacturing capabilities I think can and should be an inspiration. I presented this idea at our G7 meeting in Germany with the participation of Macky Sall and Cyril Ramaphosa. None of us can do this alone. We know that the United States also created the Global Fertilizer Challenge. We need to get others on board – donors, governments, banks and private companies. We must ensure that all of our global initiatives are well coordinated and tailored to the needs of the most vulnerable.

Russia’s war against the Ukrainian people is a test, a test of our international rules-based order. And we are here this afternoon to bring together the forces that believe in global cooperation to make the world a better and safer place.

We trust the United Nations, which is playing a central role in coordinating the international response to this crisis. I am convinced that we can only make progress together. I am convinced that we can only reach our goal together. Many Thanks.
Visit the meetings page