Speech/statement | Date: 26/05/2022 | Ministry of Foreign Affairs
By Minister of International Development Anne Beathe Tvinnereim (Malabo, 26 May)
Minister of International Development Anne Beathe Tvinnereim's statement at a debate on food security and nutrition at the Continental Humanitarian Summit, Malabo, Equatorial Guinea 26 May.
[Check against delivery]
Your Majesty, Excellencies, honourable speakers, colleagues,
Thank you for the invitation to attend this event.
We meet today with a dramatic backdrop, spelt out so dramatically by the past speakers.
The global food security situation has been strained and worsened for many months/years. The Russian war against Ukraine has further exacerbated it. I want to thank Dr. Nuru and Mr. Sukati for their sobering briefings.
I also appreciated learning from the timely briefing on food security and conflict in Africa, given by the Peace and Security Council of the African Union earlier this month.
Food security is a top priority for Norway.
And let’s talk both short and long term. We have provided more than 100 million dollars to the World Food Program this year alone. Last week in New York, I urged all other UN Member States to answer the urgent calls from the WFP.
On a mid and longer-term basis, Norway is funding food security programs worth 300 million dollars to abate the consequences of the ongoing crises.
Let me mention 3 priorities:
First, Norway will strengthen social safety nets. We all know how safety nets that improve food security and nutrition can prevent and remedy the worst consequences for the most vulnerable.
- It makes economic and social sense to assist communities to prevent humanitarian situations. This is mainly the responsibility of local and national authorities, but civil society, private sector, and donors can also assist.
- There are many different safety net mechanisms ranging from locally produced school feeding programs, national social safety nets and cash transfer programs, and supply of nutrition rich food for women and children.
- National and local governments know best which type of social safety net that fits the local context.
Second, we will support multilateral crisis mechanisms for increased food security. The extent of the current crisis requires volume and efficiency. In addition to humanitarian efforts, we must scale up our investments in sustainable and transformative food production.
Third, Norway will continue supporting climate-resilient food systems. We will focus especially on small-scale producers. We will strengthen local and regional value chains, as well as adapting food production to climate change. We will also contribute to tackling food waste and loss.
Small scale producers are the backbone of the food systems in all countries, and indispensable partners for our collective survival. We need targeted interventions to provide seeds and fertilizers to small scale farmers, and the tools they need to encounter climate change and produce nutritious food and get it to the markets. The agricultural sector has the potential to be the motor, the driver, for social change, job creation and development.
Let me conclude by saying that the current situation has exposed Africa’s chronic dependence on food imports. This raises the spectre of mass starvation on the continent that has the potential to become the world’s breadbasket.
If ever there was a time to drastically raise sustainable food production in Africa, it is now!