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UK Summit to Boost Food Security Through Science and Innovation

by Finley Hawkins
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The Global Food Security Summit will bring together experts to address the underlying causes of food insecurity and build more resilient food systems

From Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office, The Rt Hon Rishi Sunak MP, and The Rt Hon Andrew Mitchell MP

  • Global Food Security Summit in London will drive long term change on hunger and malnutrition
  • New UK support will advance food security by developing climate change resilient crops and boosting funding to tackle severe child malnutrition
  • The International Development White Paper launched at the summit sets out the UK’s new long-term approach to global food challenges

The UK will launch a new science centre where experts will develop climate resilient crops and identify risks to global food systems, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak will announce today (Monday 20th November).

The new venture will be unveiled at the Global Food Security Summit in London, which the UK is hosting alongside Somalia, UAE, the Children’s Investment Fund Foundation (CIFF) and Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

In his opening speech the Prime Minister will urge the international community to address the underlying causes of food insecurity, build more resilient food systems and to act now to prevent food crises and malnutrition.

The new virtual science hub, will be led CGIAR, a global research partnership which unites international organisations working on food security will make global food systems more resilient to future shocks in a changing climate. It will link UK scientists with research initiatives that will develop crops that can withstand the impacts of climate change and are more disease resistant.

The UK’s new International Development White Paper on food insecurity is also expected to be announced on Monday at the summit.

The White Paper is set to address food insecurity as one of the pressing global challenges, setting out how the UK will go beyond giving aid money and instead work in partnerships with countries to tackle extreme poverty and climate change.

Climate change, conflict, the long-term impacts of Covid-19 and the effects of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on global food supply are the main drivers of current food insecurity.

The UK has played a leading role in ensuring Ukraine can continue to export its agricultural produce, despite Russia’s withdrawal from the Black Sea Grain Initiative (BSGI) and disregard for the impact it had on the world’s most vulnerable. Ukrainian grain exports are crucial to ensuring global food security.

Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak said:

“We must take action to address the underlying, and often unseen, causes of global food insecurity.

“From the impact of Russia’s war in Ukraine, to the effect of major natural disasters on food production, I am proud that alongside our partners, the UK is playing a leading role in finding solutions to some of the greatest global challenges of our time.”

The White Paper priorities include mobilising international finance, reforming the international system, harnessing innovation, and putting women and girls centre stage, ensuring opportunities for all.

International Development Minister Andrew Mitchell said:

“Many children go to bed hungry and malnourished. At this summit, the UK and its partners will be united in our determination to change that. Cutting edge science and innovative partnerships will help Britain create a healthier, more secure and prosperous world for us all.

“Today we will launch the UK International Development White Paper, setting out our long-term vision for addressing critical global challenges, including preventing and treating child wasting, through new partnerships and sources of finance. The Global Food Summit is a practical example of how we are already working to make that vision happen.”

Flood-tolerant rice, disease-resistant wheat, biofortified and vitamin-rich sweet potatoes are just some of the improved crops the UK has so far helped to develop through CGIAR’s advanced crop breeding.

Together with partners, the UK is addressing the deteriorating food security and malnutrition situation across the world, including across Africa.

Up to £100 million humanitarian funding is being released to countries worst hit by food insecurity including Ethiopia, Sudan, South Sudan and Afghanistan, and to countries reeling from climate-related cyclones and droughts, like Malawi.

The UK is also helping to avert future food and nutrition crises in Somalia by building resilience to climate shocks and strengthening health services.

Malnutrition is the underlying cause of 45% of child deaths around the world.

At the summit the Prime Minister will announce the UK is providing more support to the Child Nutrition Fund. The funding will mean it can scale up its support for breastfeeding, infant feeding and health care and improve monitoring of what best manages and prevents the worst forms of child malnutrition.

UK support will also match pound for pound the amount the worst affected countries including Uganda, Ethiopia and Senegal invest of their own resources in tackling the issue. This will help secure a more reliable supply of critical food for young children suffering from the worst form of malnutrition.

Source : RW

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