Pathways towards sustainable food systems in times of crises
G7 Agriculture Ministers’ Communiqué
Berlin, May 14th, 2022
1. We, the G7 Agriculture Ministers, met in Stuttgart on May 13-14 2022 to address the global challenges that the agricultural sector faces today by taking concrete actions to contribute to all Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
2. Recalling our Statement adopted on 11 March at our extraordinary meeting on Ukraine, we are appalled by and condemn the Russian Federation’s large-scale, unprovoked and unjustified war of aggression against the territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence of Ukraine, enabled by the Belarusian Government. We condemn in the strongest terms the appalling atrocities committed by Russian armed forces in Bucha and other Ukrainian towns and we are deeply saddened by the devastating human losses and suffering. We continue to stand in full solidarity with Ukraine and the Ukrainian people.
3. We are greatly troubled by the expected serious consequences for global food security and nutrition caused by the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine. Its impact on Ukraine’s internationally significant agricultural sector places global food security and nutrition under severe strain, and further intensifies worldwide humanitarian needs for which President Putin and his accomplices bear the full responsibility. The war has intensified pressure on global food systems, which are already facing the increasing impacts of climate change, environmental degradation, other conflicts and the COVID-19 pandemic, leading to a further rise in hunger and all forms of malnutrition. This severe situation is being exacerbated by export restrictions. We note with great concern the severe effects that the recent high in prices for agricultural commodities, exacerbated by the war in Ukraine, is having on the economic situation, especially of vulnerable people, and hence on access to healthy diets, in particular in developing countries. Furthermore, energy and freight prices are increasing production costs all along the food chain. Supply disruptions and high prices for fertilisers and other inputs, reducing their affordability and therefore use, with the likely resulting decline in harvests in many countries, will put additional pressure on global food security and nutrition. Increased risks of animal diseases resulting from the war are also placing additional strain on farmers. We reiterate our support for the decisions taken by the Special Session of the FAO Council of 8th April on the impact of the Ukraine-Russia conflict on global food security and related matters.
4. Aware of the urgent need to address these challenges, we commit to take immediate and ongoing action to react to the effects of the Russian war of aggression in Ukraine. We commit to help ensure the food supply to the Ukrainian people and support Ukrainian farmers in gaining access to essential inputs including fuel, fertilisers, feed and seeds, and in producing sufficient, safe and nutritious food. We will also assist Ukraine in resuming their agricultural exports.
5. We commit to monitor input and food prices, which are expected to rise as a result of Russian’s aggression against Ukraine. In this context, we call upon the G20 Agricultural Market Information System (AMIS), FAO and the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) to provide relevant analysis and recommendations, in particular in respect of the food security impacts, food price volatility and food stock levels. We commit to strive to broaden the AMIS donor base in order to secure means of financing this initiative. We emphasise the necessity to monitor the input markets more closely. We commit to working with our colleagues in the G20 to provide timely data, and complete and transparent information, and call upon other AMIS members to do so as well. We are providing additional financial resources to AMIS on a voluntary basis to facilitate, in particular, extended fertiliser market monitoring, and we encourage other countries to do so.
6. We commit to take quick, effective and non-distorting measures, as necessary, to stabilise and enable the smooth functioning of markets and thus to secure food supplies and avoid excessive stockpiling of food which can lead to further price increases. We are addressing plant nutrition needs, given the challenge of high fertiliser prices and supply disruptions. Moreover, we are committed to working together on stabilising trade rules at the 12th Ministerial Conference of the WTO in order to ensure food security.
7. We particularly condemn export restrictions imposed by Russia that use food and input export restrictions for geostrategic reasons and deprive global markets of Ukraine’s significant production, compounding further global food insecurity. We will continue to avoid any unjustified restrictive measures on exports that could exacerbate the increases in food and input price volatility already seen on international markets, and that could thereby threaten the continued recovery of all facets of global food supply chains and, more broadly, food security and nutrition. The impact of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has caused significant risks to global food security and nutrition and we will work together to drive positive outcomes, including at the WTO, to tackle the unjustified use of export restrictions. We will also fight against any speculative behaviour that endangers food security or access to nutritious food for vulnerable countries or populations.
8. While reacting to the current significant challenges, we explicitly commit to continue our work towards sustainable and resilient agriculture and food systems. In this context, we support the work of all relevant multilateral organisations, including the World Food Programme (WFP), the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), the Committee on World Food Security (CFS), and international financial institutions. Climate change and biodiversity loss, conflicts, and the Covid-19 pandemic are still ongoing, are still affecting livelihoods and, unfortunately, are reinforcing each other. We warn against slowing down work on any of these challenges in order to address short term food crises, as this will have negative consequences in the medium and long term. We will continue to work with our partners to actively address the direct impact of the Russian war and its indirect implications on countries and help Ukraine rebuild a resilient agricultural sector.
9. We support the “Global Crisis Response Group on Food, Energy and Finance” led by the UN Secretary-General that brings all relevant stakeholders to the table. The G7 intends to act as champions of this process together with like-minded countries and encourages the group to act swiftly and in a transparent manner. We welcome the G7 Leaders emphasis on food security and nutrition, who stated that “we will address the cause and consequences of the global food crisis through a Global Alliance for Food Security, as our joint initiative to ensure momentum and coordination, and other efforts. We will closely cooperate with international partners and organisations beyond the G7, with the aim of transforming political commitments into concrete actions as planned by various international initiatives such as the Food and Agriculture Resilience Mission (FARM) and key regional outreach initiatives, including towards African and Mediterranean countries.”
10. We stress the central role of the agricultural sector in nourishing a growing world population and achieving full implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. We are convinced that the continued transformation to sustainable food systems, recognising the three pillars of sustainability, domestically and internationally, is fundamental for achieving global food security and nutrition. In this regard, we welcome the UN Secretary-General’s statement of action at the 2021 UN Food Systems Summit, which advocated ending hunger and all forms of malnutrition and building sustainable, resilient and inclusive food systems, and we take note of the National, Independent and Global Dialogues and Coalitions of Action as well as the implementation of National Pathways.
11. The G7 commits to show international leadership and ambition in finding pathways towards sustainable food systems, responding to the agricultural crisis caused by the war in Ukraine, and in investing responsibly in the future. We commit to take decisive, coordinated, cross-sectoral and collective action for the progressive realisation of the right to adequate food in the context of national food security as well as to enhance standards of living for farmers, including through support to developing countries through relevant policies and programmes. We thus want to sustainably increase agricultural productivity and production and the resilience of agricultural ecosystems. Food loss and waste and the promotion of balanced and healthy diets should also be addressed. We recognise that there is no one-size-fits-all approach and that local conditions must be taken into account.
12. We commit to continued engagement with and support of the UN Food Systems Summit objectives. In this respect, we commit to continue to move towards greater use of policies to promote sustainable production while respecting WTO rules. These policies include enhanced mitigation efforts and adaptation to climate change, the protection of the environment, the halting of biodiversity loss and the promotion of healthy diets. To this end, we will commit to integrate these objectives in agriculture and food policies. Recalling commitments made by G7 Leaders under the UK’s Presidency in 2021, we look forward to further analysis to assess the effects of agricultural policies and incentives on the environment, in particular on biodiversity and climate, with the aim of continuing to promote policies that contribute to sustainable development goals, and to take action, as appropriate, to deliver nature positive outcomes.
13. A strong and inclusive multi-stakeholder approach is crucial for transforming food systems. In this regard, we welcome the collaborative work in the Committee on World Food Security (CFS) and its various sets of voluntary guidelines, recommendations and principles. We highlight the need for close collaboration and coordination between the CFS and IFAD. We call on the CFS to work within its mandate on food-security and nutrition challenges related to climate change mitigation, adaptation and biodiversity loss. This work should address the needs of smallholders, including income opportunities, as well as women’s fundamental contribution as farmers and workers, while avoiding all forms of discrimination.
14. We recognise the role that food systems and land-use change play as drivers of climate change. At the same time, we acknowledge the particular vulnerability of agriculture, forestry, fisheries and aquaculture to the impacts of climate change. We reconfirm our commitment to the full and swift implementation of the Paris Agreement. We intend to fully play our part in urgently implementing the Glasgow Climate Pact. We intend to intensify existing efforts to increase climate adaptation practices to provide sufficient, safe, healthy and nutritious diets for all. We commit to scale up efforts to achieve net zero greenhouse gas emissions as soon as possible, and by 2050 at the latest. We commit to continue to scale up sectoral action in the agricultural and land-use sectors to keep 1.5 ° C within reach. We therefore commit to promote climate mitigation measures by fostering methods of sustainable and climate-smart agriculture, including methane-reduction practices, the sustainable management of forests and the reduction of energy consumption. In this regard, we recall the outcomes of the UNFCCC COP 26, and emphasise, in particular, our common commitment to the Glasgow Leaders’ Declaration on Forests and Land Use. We look forward to further discussions within and beyond the Koronivia Joint Work on Agriculture and respective initiatives on future solutions for climate change adaptation and mitigation.
15. We are aware that agriculture and biodiversity are strongly interrelated. While agriculture can contribute significantly to the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity, inappropriate agricultural practices are one of the major drivers of global biodiversity loss. We underline and champion sustainable agricultural productivity growth, organic farming, agroecology and other innovative approaches, and other biodiversity-friendly practices, which can help conserve and improve global biodiversity. The responsible and sustainable use of pesticides, including reducing risks from pesticides and integrated pest management, provides a pivotal contribution to biodiversity. We commit to conserve agricultural biodiversity, including traditional varieties and species of cultivated plants and animals and pollinators as well as soil health. We commit to promote and swiftly implement an ambitious, effective post-2020 global biodiversity framework with strong goals and targets to be agreed by parties at CBD COP 15.2.
16. We commit to promote the efficient and sustainable management of nutrients in agriculture, including reducing the loss of nutrients to the environment, nutrient recycling and the integrated use of fertilisers from organic matter. We will commit to support efficient and responsible use of fertilisers that is geared to the nutrient needs of crops, trees, pastures and grassland, while reducing nutrient losses, mitigating climate change and halting and reversing biodiversity loss.
17. We reaffirm our commitment to implement the One Health Approach to accelerate the global fight against Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) in agriculture and food systems. We commit to take action to reduce the need for and unnecessary use of antimicrobials in order to prevent, reduce and manage biological threats and risks to agriculture, food systems and human health. We recognise the importance of antimicrobial stewardship in the food chain as a fundamental part of safeguarding human, animal and environmental health. We welcome and commit to adhere to and apply the Codex Alimentarius “Guidelines on Integrated Monitoring and Surveillance of Foodborne Antimicrobial Resistance” (CXG 94-2021) and the “Code of Practice to Minimise and Contain Foodborne Antimicrobial Resistance” (CXC 61-2005) as important steps towards reducing AMR in line with the One Health approach. As part of the implementation of these guidelines, we commit to either establish or enhance existing national integrated monitoring and surveillance systems in our respective countries for antimicrobial resistance and antimicrobial use. This includes, as appropriate, using data from human and veterinary medicine, agriculture, crop production, animal production and environmental sampling, enhancing the science and evidence base for risk assessments, and identifying opportunities for mitigation. We urge the International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC) to develop standards on the responsible use of antimicrobials on plants or crops for phytosanitary purposes.
18. We highlight the fact that sustainable production systems are an important factor to keep humans, plants and animals healthy and thus to reduce the burden of AMR and prevent the risk of zoonoses. We will take action on threats and risks to sustainable food production systems, including zoonotic diseases, animal pathogens, plant pests and pathogens and invasive alien species. We will address the prevalence and transmission of exotic and endemic diseases among food-producing animals. We welcome and encourage the work, based on science and risk analysis, of the Quadripartite organisations (OIE, FAO, WHO and UNEP) as well as the “One Health High Level Expert Panel” to strengthen the implementation of the One Health approach in order to prevent or combat AMR and emerging and endemic zoonotic diseases and other threats.
19. We stress that food loss and waste are an on-going global challenge in the transformation to sustainable food systems and require urgent and collective actions. We acknowledge that the reduction of food loss and waste are important cross-cutting actions to realise several SDGs, while reducing GHG emissions. We renew, in particular, our commitment to halve per capita global food waste at the retail and consumer levels and reduce food losses along production and supply chains, including post-harvest losses, by 2030.
20. We acknowledge that fair, open, transparent, predictable, non-discriminatory and rules-based trade is essential for building more resilient food systems, for promoting food security and for making nutritious food more affordable and available. We highlight the importance of transparent and predictable trade policies consistent with World Trade Organisation (WTO) rules. We emphasise the need to continue to explore how sustainability and inclusivity in global trade can be improved and how global trade rules can help address urgent agricultural, food and sustainability challenges. Further analysis of the effects of agricultural trade on biodiversity, the environment and climate would be useful to inform climate and environmentally-friendly trade policies. We commit to work constructively with other WTO members in the lead-up to the 12th WTO Ministerial Conference, with a view to achieving a positive outcome, and to demonstrate our ongoing commitment to objectives on climate change and biodiversity loss.
21. We underline that global agricultural supply chains contribute to a stable and diverse supply of food worldwide and are key to ensuring global food security and nutrition. We commit to work on making agricultural supply chains diversified, sustainable, efficient and resilient, including at local and regional level, as this makes an important contribution to safeguarding the global food supply, particularly in times of crises and geopolitical instability.
22. We commit to respect and promote human rights, including economic, social and cultural rights, along agricultural supply chains. With great concern, we recognise that child labour, trafficking in persons, including forced labour, exist along agricultural supply chains and we commit to work towards eliminating this inhuman and degrading treatment. In this regard, we also encourage initiatives that the private sector and civil society can pursue to combat child and forced labour.
23. We stress that sustainable agricultural supply chains require responsible business conduct (RBC). We recall the 2021 G7 Trade Ministers’ Statement on Forced Labour and the commitment to enhance predictability and transparency for businesses by promoting existing international guidance on human rights due diligence, including responsible recruitment practices. We commit to take action for better dissemination and application of the OECD-FAO Guidance for Responsible Agricultural Supply Chains by industry as a comprehensive international framework. We call on multi-stakeholders, industry and certification initiatives in the agricultural supply chain to align with this guidance and other international guidelines and principles on RBC. We acknowledge the work to assess alignment that is being carried out by the OECD and supported with tool-development by the International Trade Centre (ITC) in order to improve such initiatives.
24. In view of the challenges posed by the climate crisis, biodiversity loss, deforestation and land degradation, we emphasise the utmost importance of sustainable and transparent global agricultural supply chains. As leading economies, we acknowledge our strong role in global markets and in encouraging more sustainable consumption and production. Growing demand for sustainable products and sustainable consumption patterns facilitated by well-functioning markets can support efforts by producers and businesses to shift to sustainable production patterns. We acknowledge the role that family farmers, fishers and smallholders can play in contributing to sustainable agricultural supply chains, including at the local level, and commit to promote greater inclusiveness, particularly of women, youth and vulnerable populations, in our policies. We commit to promote the continued transition to sustainable agricultural supply chains.
25. Forests play an essential role in the agricultural supply chain through their multi-functional role in the environment. We are therefore concerned about global deforestation and forest degradation, namely deforestation driven by agricultural expansion. We recall our commitments to the UN Strategic Plan for Forests and its six Global Forest Goals. Permanent forest loss poses a major threat to climate, biodiversity and soils, and consequently also to food security and nutrition. Therefore, we commit to promote consumption of legally harvested wood products produced from sustainably managed forests. We commit to increase our support for sustainable supply chains that decouple agricultural production from deforestation and forest degradation. We commit to work collaboratively, sharing best practices and exploring approaches, including by strengthening governance, transparency and capacity-building to support our goal of halting forest loss. We aim to achieve this goal through sustainable supply chains for agricultural commodities to advance global deforestation mitigation goals. We underline the importance of, and our readiness for, dialogue with other consumer and producer countries, the private sector and all relevant stakeholders in order to work towards joint solutions along whole supply chains in line with WTO rules. As such, we will engage in international processes and initiatives to pursue approaches to combat deforestation, such as the Forest, Agriculture and Commodity Trade (FACT) Dialogue and other relevant initiatives, working with producers and consumers to support the shift to sustainable supply chains. We appreciate OECD-FAO’s ongoing work on the Handbook for Business on Deforestation, Forest Degradation and Due Diligence in Agricultural Supply Chains.
26. We note that there are different rules, voluntary guidelines and private-sector standards addressing responsible agricultural supply chains. We acknowledge the opportunity to work towards coherent understanding and complementary approaches while recognising different national circumstances. The basis should be to look to existing authoritative standards and guidelines on responsible business conduct from OECD and others in order to drive coherence. We welcome the Presidency’s initiative to commission the OECD to compile an inventory of the G7 voluntary and mandatory Due Diligence measures for sustainable agricultural supply chains. As part of this mapping, the OECD will examine other applicable environmental, social and human rights standards. This will include considering possible unintended effects, particularly on smallholder farmers in producer countries. Based on the inventory, prevailing elements and needs could then be identified to strengthen the quality and, where possible, coherence of G7 policy measures to promote sustainable supply chains.
27. We emphasise the importance of promoting sustainable land and water management practices that enhance ecosystem services, improve climate change mitigation and adaptation and advance the conservation of biodiversity. We commit, where appropriate, to promote Nature-based Solutions respecting social and environmental safeguards in our agricultural and wider land management practices, recognising their co-benefits for agricultural and food production resilience, climate, nature, health and people.
28. We discussed our current programmes for soil carbon sequestration and the respective opportunities and challenges. Activities for enhanced carbon sequestration are an approach that supports a transformation to sustainable land management that improves climate stewardship and food security, strengthens biodiversity conservation and may at the same time increase agricultural productivity and create a source of income for farmers. We highlighted opportunities to build partnerships and provide financing for adjusting land management practices in order to reach our climate and biodiversity goals and to support efforts to maintain and build soil organic matter. We recognise the importance of avoiding soil pollution and maintaining or increasing soil organic matter, especially the multiple benefits for soil health which include soil biodiversity, water retention, reduced soil degradation and increased resilience, and commit to promote and implement national policies accordingly.
29. During our discussions, we also recognised that carbon sequestration practices for offsetting greenhouse gas emissions gave rise to challenges such as, inter alia, ensuring long-term carbon storage and avoiding leakage effects, double counting and potential negative impacts on biodiversity, water and soils. These need to be addressed to ensure effective implementation, including for smallholder farmers.
30. We affirm the necessity for minimum criteria and verifiable procedures for carbon removal certification. We pledge that efforts for enhanced carbon sequestration cannot replace and must be complementary to the required efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions across all sectors. We recognise the importance of improving monitoring, reporting and verification (MRV) methodologies to accurately account for emissions reductions and removals due to sustainable land management practices consistent with relevant IPCC methodologies. We welcome the Presidency’s plan to conduct a multilateral workshop for further exchange of scientific background, possibly together with IPCC.
31. We commit to promote research and innovation to increase the resilience and sustainability of food systems, including through living labs approaches, leading to sustainable production and increased agricultural productivity. We recognise the need for increased public and private investment in agricultural research and innovation. We also commit to enhance research collaboration and voluntary knowledge-sharing at various levels and to strive to improve the interface between science and policy. We recommit to mobilising the global agricultural research system to help the world recover from COVID-19, addressing the challenges of food security and nutrition, the climate change and biodiversity impacts on and of food systems and the impact on global food security due to the current situation in Ukraine.
32. We advocate that technology and digital agriculture solutions can make a crucial contribution to achieving sustainable food systems. These should be developed based on sound science and scaled and implemented in an ethical, equitable, responsible and gender-sensitive manner. At the same time, appropriate protection of intellectual property and data privacy should be ensured. These technologies and solutions should take into account the various and specific contexts and production systems, and contribute positively to biodiversity and climate change mitigation. We emphasise the need for readily available solutions that are accessible and affordable, especially for smallholder and family farmers, indigenous communities, women and youth. We plan to continue measures to ensure that our farmers have access to training, advice and finance.
33. We thank FAO and OECD for their expertise and invite them to continue their engagement on the issues treated in the Communiqué.
34. We look forward to the OECD Meeting of Agriculture Ministers on “Building Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems in a Changing Environment: Shared Challenges, Transformative Solution” this November.
We appreciate the work of the German G7 Presidency and look forward to the work of the Japanese G7 Presidency in 2023.
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