The Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) has formally launched the Food Coalition, an international partnership which aims to address the impact of Covid-19 on food systems and agriculture worldwide.
First proposed by the government of Italy, the Food Coalition is a voluntary multi-stakeholder and multi-sector alliance which will support innovative initiatives to ensure global food access, increase the resilience of agri-food systems and put them on a more sustainable course.
The establishment of the Food Coalition was first announced in June, and as of 09 November, over 30 countries have joined the coalition.
A statement from the FAO laid bare the potential food crisis which has been triggered by the Covid-19 pandemic. According to the FAO, an additional 132 million people may suffer chronic hunger by the end of 2020 due to the effects of the pandemic – on top of the 690 million people who suffered from this in 2019 – highlighting the challenge that the pandemic poses to the UN’s goal to eradicate hunger by 2030.
Additionally, the FAO claims that the pandemic will have long-term effects on food security, affecting production; farmers’ health and access to markets; rural jobs and livelihoods; triggering decreasing food supply and demand in rural and urban areas alike.
The Food Coalition will support existing and future efforts to overcome the pandemic’s disruptive impacts and help countries get back on track to achieve the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals by 2030, particularly those of ending hunger and poverty.
To achieve this, the alliance includes a devoted trust fund and a web-based hub which allows participants to access a range of project-focused information and data, as well as the funding needed for on-the-ground projects.
FAO director general Qu Dongyu, said: “We must increase the exchange of knowledge and leverage global momentum to promote food security and nutrition.
“The aim is to build a global alliance with a network of national governments, international organisations, thought leaders, civil societies and the private sector working together for a unified global action”.
FAO chief economist Maximo Torero, added: “Covid-19 has taught us that we need to increase the resilience of agri-food systems, both to be ready to minimise risks and to be able to cope with risks when they occur”.
By Martin White
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