On May 10, 2022, the Munich Security Conference and The Rockefeller Foundation gathered key diplomatic, non-governmental, and private sector stakeholders from Europe and North America in Washington, DC for a roundtable on “Transatlantic Cooperation on Food Security.” The participants discussed food security as well as the related fuel and debt crises, which have been aggravated by Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine, facing developing countries.
The participants acknowledged today’s global food emergency, which poses grave risks for developing countries, and urged the international community to immediately respond in a globally coordinated manner. A clear view of the global situation emerged from the discussion:
- Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine has dramatically worsened the situation in global agriculture markets, which had already been tight due to the effects of Covid-19 and climate change.
- Developing countries, in particular those with high debt and high-import needs, are at risk of famine and destabilization.
- Food, fuel, and fertilizer prices are increasing, interest rates are rising, and inflation is trending higher. Export restrictions are aggravating the situation.
- Given the political and security risks historically associated with food crises, food security must be a key element of far-sighted security policy.
Key points emerging from the discussion are:
- Leadership by the G7 is vital. An alliance on food security as proposed by the German presidency of the G7 could offer considerable help – especially if it includes governments, international organizations, multilateral institutions, foundations, NGOs, and the private sector.
- To be effective, any alliance must act in a coordinated, quick and far-sighted manner based on clear, accurate, transparent, and comprehensive data.
- We must find ways to maximize food harvests and get them to markets, both local and global, first and foremost by opening ports and ensuring freedom of navigation. The World Food Programme must also be fully funded and prioritized.
- Humanitarian aid, fiscal support, debt relief will be critical elements of this response.
- Leaders will need to use a range of response tools, including those that would reduce debt servicing, provide debt relief, and offer additional funding to developing countries.
- The response must also focus on transforming the global food system and making it more resilient to future shocks, with steps taken now and over the long term.
The Munich Security Conference, The Rockefeller Foundation, and other participants expressed commitment and determination to not squander the narrow window of opportunity we have to address these crises and to act now to save lives.