The FAO-led, multi-stakeholder coalition, which aims to collectively address the impacts of the pandemic on food systems and agriculture across the world, now has support from 35 nations.
The COVID-19 Food Coalition, launched by the Government of Italy in June and led by the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations (FAO), is said to be gaining momentum, as more countries join the initiative in an effort to tackle medium and long-term adverse impacts of the pandemic on food systems and agriculture.
The coalition is a multi-stakeholder, multi-sectoral mechanism that aims to mobilise political, financial and technical assistance in support of countries affected by the current crisis. It will offer a platform to develop a dialogue among stakeholders including private sector, academia, farmer organisations, civil society, governments, non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and others to provide country-tailored responses to the COVID-19 impacts on food systems.
The coalition also aims to serve as a forum for exchange of ideas and knowledge between various countries to work out solutions for members facing similar challenges when tackling the pandemic’s implications on food systems and food supply.
More than 35 nations from over the world have joined or offered support to the coalition so far.
“In response to the current emergency, the COVID-19 Food Coalition will support existing FAO efforts to help countries get back on track to meet the Sustainable Development Goals on reducing hunger and malnutrition,” said FAO Deputy Director-General, Beth Bechdol. “We encourage all our members to join this initiative – an exemplary approach to leveraging high-level capital and political will to avoid an escalation of the pandemic from a health crisis to a food crisis.”
“The global scale of the pandemic requires renewed efforts to eradicate world hunger,” added Emanuela del Re, Italy’s Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation. “For this reason, the Italian cooperation approach aims to strengthen the link between humanitarian intervention and development, creating resilient food systems and strengthening sustainable supply chains. We will continue this action by supporting the further development of the FAO ‘Food Coalition’ initiative promoted by Italy.”
“I wish to express all my satisfaction in seeing the Italian proposal to establish a Food Coalition receiving since the beginning the immediate support of so many countries including the United States, Nigeria, the Netherlands, Argentina, Egypt and others that are communicating their interest in these hours,” said Marina Sereni, Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs of Italy.
In a bid to minimise the impacts of the current emergency in the long run, the COVID-19 Food Coalition will look to support FAO efforts to promote resilient and sustainable food production systems, improve nutrition, increase agricultural productivity and incomes of small-scale food producers, especially women, youth, indigenous peoples and family farmers, while addressing disruptions caused by COVID-19.