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Food security and food for all: the G20 Agriculture Ministers’ objectives

The sustainability and resilience of production models are at the centre of the 21 points of the “Florence Food Systems Sustainability Charter”
G20 Agriculture Ministers in Florence

“We, the G20 Agriculture Ministers, met in Florence on September 17-18, 2021 and reaffirmed our commitment to achieve food security and food for all, and to ensure sustainable and resilient food systems, leaving no one behind. “The first point of the final declaration of the G20 Agriculture Ministers meeting in Florence in recent days is also the most important of the 21 points of the “Florence Charter for Sustainable Food Systems”, presented to the media by the Minister of Agriculture Stefano Patuanelli. We have to be able to put in place policies that reverse the course in a definitive way without looking at consensus and immediate effects”, said Patuanelli, “everything we do will take effect in many years. There are important passages in the document”, continued the Minister, “with respect to the objectives of the 2020-2030 agenda: one of the most important objectives is zero hunger because it is clear that each country experiences a piece of the problems. While we are aware that still too often in our country children have their only full meal at school, and therefore the issue of food security also concerns Italy, it is clear that there are areas of the world where this is the main problem”, said Patuanelli. “So the objective on this point is to increase multilateral relations and cooperation between countries to avoid waste and allow the production of healthy food even in countries where this does not happen despite having the possibility to do so”, the Minister added.
The Florence Charter “is definitely a document that, despite the obligation to reach compromises - because when there are so many countries signing a document, all with different production systems and different problems, there has to be a compromise in order to achieve satisfaction - is nevertheless a document that, compared to other texts, presents some concrete points”. On the 2030 agenda, Patuanelli said, “I see some hesitations because very often making choices means dividing the field and therefore can increase or lose consensus. There are two actions that our country has had to face up to but which we have not yet managed to push through: the sugar tax and the plastic tax. We have finally completed the mapping of labor needs because knowing the demand for workers at any given time of the year is fundamental. On the sidelines of the G20, at a number of events with trade associations, we talked about the issue of wheat prices. Everyone is aware of the dynamic that is taking place, particularly in some production sectors”, the Minister concluded, “and that spiral should also be seen with an eye to the speculation that is developing on the stock exchange, which is international. If we do not reach a plateau, and then return to lower levels, we will have to take some action at global level”. He then turned his attention to the FAO Food Coalition, to which “more than 35 countries have already signed up, but the number is constantly increasing because there is more and more attention being paid to the role of the FAO in guaranteeing food security in the world”.
Also very important is point 3, which reaffirms the centrality of sustainable and resilient food systems, which are “fundamental to food security and nutrition, contributing to healthy and balanced diets, poverty eradication, sustainable management of natural resources, conservation and protection of ecosystems, and climate change mitigation and adaptation. In this context, we welcome the recently endorsed Voluntary Guidelines on Food Systems and Nutrition of the Committee on World Food Security (CFS) and encourage all stakeholders to actively contribute to promoting their use and application”. Always bearing in mind, as point 6 emphasizes, “that there is no one-size-fits-all solution, we stress the urgency of taking into account diverse local conditions, cultures, histories, production systems, consumption patterns and traditions while designing a transformation of sustainable, productive and resilient food systems”.
Regarding sustainability, in point 7 the G20 Agriculture Ministers acknowledge “that there is no sustainable growth without economically viable agriculture that generates stable and rewarding incomes and creates decent, quality jobs and opportunities for farmers and farm workers, their families and rural communities”, and in point 8 that “the social sustainability of food systems requires greater attention to the contribution of farmworkers and communities, including seasonal migrant workers, to sustainable development and to ensuring that they share equitably in the gains from this development through adequate earnings from their work”. Dynamics which, of course, have social and political consequences (just think of migratory flows and their management), as well as the fight against waste, research, the fight against pandemics, the promotion of local crops and small-scale producers, the fight against climate change, the role of food trade in ensuring food security for all, and the role of the G20 itself, as we read in the following points.

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