Statement: Her Excellency Mariam Almheiri, Minister of State for Food and Water Security, for: The Conclusion of the G20 Summit

Her Excellency Mariam Almheiri, Minister of State for Food and Water Security

This year’s G20 summit hosted by our brotherly neighbor Saudi Arabia is taking place in unprecedented circumstances, with the Covid-19 pandemic creating a renewed emphasis on the need for countries to work together and embrace stronger international cooperation. The unforeseen coronavirus outbreak is likely to mean that achieving the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) – in particular SDG2 – ‘Zero Hunger’ – by 2030 is a target that might have to be recalibrated. As a consequence, food security is now more than ever an area where it is imperative that international collaboration is scaled up, especially as ensuring global food security is a prerequisite for meeting the entire Agenda 2030.

This pandemic has reiterated the need to build countries’ food security capacity to withstand similar global crises that might arise in the future and affect us in the same way as the current one. It has highlighted that what is required is improving countries’ self-sufficiency in their respective food value chains, with the application of agricultural technology having a fundamental role to play in this.

 By sharing our knowledge and expertise in the area of AgTech, we can create robust food security ecosystems that increase domestic yield, minimise resource use to support water security, and reduce dependency on the global food chains that are being adversely affected by the pandemic. 

This global outbreak is having a profound impact on how nations relate and interact with each other, the remote involvement of participants at the G20 is a perfect example of how such a crisis affects our interconnectedness. The silver lining in this situation is that it might just be the wake-up call we need to work together to create a new paradigm shift in food security – one that facilitates the free movement of food across borders, promotes the reduction of food waste and loss, and has a certain degree of self-sufficiency at its heart.