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Agriculture/food security

Published on September 16, 2011
G20 conference on agricultural research for development: “Promoting scientific partnerships for food security” – Closing speech by Henri de Raincourt, Minister responsible for Cooperation (excerpts)

Montpellier, September 13, 2011


Food security is indeed an urgent issue. The news reminds us of this every day. Despite the fact that fighting hunger is the first Millennium Development Goal (MDG), today nearly a billion human beings continue to suffer from hunger and malnutrition across the world. This is unacceptable.

The issue will be even more pressing in the future. Indeed, for some people, feeding the nine billion inhabitants the planet is expected to have in 2050 requires increasing global agricultural production by at least 70% and strengthening the resilience of developing countries’ farming systems.

It’s a huge challenge, because food security isn’t just a crucial development issue and moral imperative – it also guarantees social and political stability, an essential factor when it comes to dignity, peace and security. It is, more than ever, one of the major challenges of our time.

There’s no getting away from the facts and the figures speak for themselves, but the situation isn’t inevitable. This is why fighting hunger and malnutrition is a priority of the G20’s work. Our ambition is for the G20 to play its full role as a catalyst and put food security back at the heart of the international development agenda. Making research benefit agriculture, food security and nutrition is central to this major goal.

We would like the Cannes summit of 3 and 4 November 2011 to make concrete progress and lead to long-term solutions, particularly as regards improving the fate of those suffering from hunger. I’m pleased to note that strong messages and tangible results are emerging from this first G20 conference on agricultural research for development. (…)

It is mobilizing and bringing together all the G20 members’ scientific institutes, centres and agencies and the international institutions concerned, such as the Global Forum on Agricultural Research (GFAR), the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR), the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the World Bank. (…)

The North-South, South-South and triangular cooperation projects, and the public-private initiatives which have been presented show the commitment of the G20 members’ to get actively involved and pool their knowledge to come up with the best solutions together, especially for subsistence farming.

It is absolutely essential for the G20 to muster all its strength to help provide food security for the most vulnerable states and peoples. (…)

In conclusion, in the framework of the French G20 presidency and in line with the Global Partnership for Agriculture, Food Security and Nutrition which President Sarkozy launched in Rome on 6 June 2008, I should like to reiterate three priorities: support for subsistence farming and food production, public-private partnerships for responsible agricultural investment and making knowledge benefit food security.

The French G20 presidency is offering us a unique opportunity to make headway on bringing this partnership into play, as this first G20 conference on agricultural research for development demonstrates.

Thanks to you, we can get to the root of what’s wrong and develop long-term solutions to prevent new famines in the world and step up agricultural production over the long term. (…)./.

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