Thank you, Svenja, for chairing this important discussion and for Germany’s leadership on food security.
Food systems were fragile even before Russia invaded Ukraine. Food prices and global hunger were already on the rise. The war has now accelerated a global food crisis.
In most countries, food price inflation exceeds overall inflation. The price of wheat has increased by 37 percent compared to January. WFP and FAO have warned that acute food insecurity could worsen in 20 countries or areas from June to September this year.
Regrettably, as of early June, 34 countries have imposed export restrictions on food and fertilizers.
Export restrictions and other trade-restrictive measures are self-defeating. They reduce global supply, driving food prices even higher.
There are actions that countries should take to mitigate impacts of higher food prices and make sure that the most vulnerable continue to have food:
- First, support vulnerable households through social safety nets and well-targeted cash transfers.
- Second, enhance the next season's production by facilitating farmers’ access to agriculture inputs such as fertilizers.
- Third, invest in strengthening the resilience of food systems
- And fourth, and most importantly, facilitate increased trade by building international consensus. If emergency export restrictions are deemed necessary, they should be targeted, temporary, and in compliance with World Trade Organization rules, as also reflected in the recent Ministerial Declaration on responding to food insecurity.
To help countries taking these actions, the World Bank Group is making up to $30 billion available over the next 15 months.
Earlier this week, the World Bank approved a $2.3 billion program to help countries in East and South Africa increase the resilience of food systems and ability to tackle growing food insecurity.
Collaboration and coordination will remain critical. With the numerous existing programs on food and agriculture, pooling our resources can help our efforts reach scale and impact. Coordination allows different programs to work in synergy so that there aren’t gaps in our coverage.
Together with the G7 Presidency, the World Bank has co-convened the Global Alliance for Food Security – an alliance for countries and organizations to support existing initiatives and catalyze an immediate and concerted response. The Alliance will help enhance collaboration by countries and organizations through channeling information, including the latest analysis on food security; track funding gaps; and make efforts to raise additional resources to support effective response efforts.
I look forward to more opportunities to work with G7 member countries and other organizations. We can and will find a path out of this crisis by working together.