Pedro Sánchez announces Spain's commitment of 236.5 million euros to fight for food security in the world

President's News - 2022.9.20

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New York (United States of America)

The President of the Government of Spain, Pedro Sánchez, has co-chaired the Food Security Summit, an event that aims to seek solutions to the current food crisis through dialogue and multilateral cooperation. During his speech, Sánchez announced that Spain has pledged to donate €151.5 million and to provide a further €85 million in loans from the AECID's Fund for the Promotion of Development (FONPRODE), for a total of 236.5 million euros for different projects in the area of food security over the next three years.

The President of the Government of Spain reaffirmed that "Russia must end its illegal war against Ukraine, which has threatened an essential source of the world's food supply. And as we strive for peace, it is urgent that we take concrete steps to protect the most vulnerable and prevent the situation from worsening.

This Summit is the initiative of President Sánchez, as a member of the Leaders' Network "Together for Strengthened Multilateralism"; the President of the European Council, Charles Michel; the President of Senegal, Macky Sall, as the rotating Chair of the African Union; and the US Secretary of State, Anthony Blinken. Alongside the four co-chairs of the event, the President of Colombia, the Chancellor of Germany, and representatives of the European Commission, Nigeria and Indonesia co-hosted the event.

A total of 18 heads of state or government took part. After the opening, the Heads of State or Government of Argentina, Canada, Denmark, Ecuador, Kazakhstan, New Zealand, Pakistan, Poland, Romania, Rwanda, Senegal, Somalia and Ukraine, and the UN Secretary-General, took the floor.

Also in attendance were the leaders of the main UN bodies and agencies involved in food security, such as the FAO, the World Food Programme, the United Nations Commission for Trade and Development, the World Committee for Food Security and the International Fund for Agricultural Development, the latter two chaired by the Spanish Gabriel Ferrero and Álvaro Lario, respectively, and the World Trade Organisation.

In his speech, Sánchez pointed out that it is essential that countries promote an open, transparent and predictable trading environment; and that barriers to trade in agricultural products, including fertilisers, be removed.

The President of the Government of Spain, Pedro Sánchez, at the Global Summit on Food Security | Pool Moncloa/Borja Puig de la Bellacasa

Sánchez also highlighted the work and initiatives that the European Union has put in place to alleviate this crisis and praised the work done by Guterres to agree the 'Black Sea Grain Initiative'. This initiative has so far succeeded in exporting more than 2.7 million tonnes of grain and other foodstuffs from Black Sea ports. The grain blocked since the beginning of the war is estimated at over 22 million tonnes.

According to the UN World Food Programme, the food insecure population doubled due to the pandemic, from 135 million people at the beginning of 2020 to 276 million two years later. According to the organisation, the figure will rise to 323 million by 2022 due to the war in Ukraine. As a result, the food crisis has become a global challenge.

Sánchez stressed the importance of immediate action, stating that "we are running out of time. If farmers do not get fertilisers at the right time, poor crops or even crop failure will continue to worsen the situation".

Russia and Ukraine together account for 28% of world wheat exports and 15% of maize, and Ukraine produces half of the world's sunflower oil. To this effect, in August Spain launched a pilot project to transport grain by train from Ukraine to Spain as an alternative or supplement to the maritime means of transport, at a time marked by Russia's invasion and limitations in the Black Sea ports.

Spain, the United States, the African Union and the European Union have issued a Declaration in the wake of this Summit in which they commit "to respond to the urgent need for food security and nutrition of hundreds of millions of people around the world".

The President of the Government closed his speech by inviting the leaders to act together immediately because "as long as there is hunger there will be no peace and without peace there will continue to be hunger".

Non official translation

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