MIL-OSI Europe: Time for action to reach zero hunger

2

Source: Government of Norway

State Secretary Aksel Jakobsen’s statement (digital) at the «End hunger and nourish all people», pre-summit to the UN Food Systems Summit.

Honourable ministers, ladies and gentlemen,

As mentioned by previous speakers – the number of hungry and malnourished people is simply staggering.

The situation is as dramatic – as it is unacceptable.

The upcoming UN Food Systems Summit – and the process leading up to it – provides the opportunity of the decade to reach zero hunger.

To sow the seeds of change – literally.

***

Our acts must be based on facts – on science.

Science and new insights have always been the platform of human progress – be it inventing the wheel, inventing the heavy plough, rotating crops or improving seeds.

Sometimes – new discoveries have been based on decades of meticulous research.

At other times on open-minded and hard-working farmers simply realizing that the seeds the wind brought them yielded more food than the crops they had been used to.

So – let’s remember that the 500 million small-scale farmers around the world are not only vulnerable – but also resourceful change-agents.

I am encouraged to see growing political will to take action on hunger – not least manifested by the G20 Matera Declaration.

***

In order to reduce hunger – sufficient food needs to be produced locally – and to be available locally.

From a nutritional perspective – it must be healthy and diverse.

From a consumer perspective – it should be affordable – and tasty.

We need to put farmers’ and indigenous peoples first – both in access to crop diversity and in seed policy and practise.

That is why Norway has proposed a game-changing solution based on a systemic change – we need to ensure seed security for smallholder farmers.

We need climate resilient crops – worldwide!

In our solution – we propose that farmers and local communities are included in deciding which crops they use – adapted to their local and cultural settings.

Policy and regulations must provide farmers with the legal space to save, use, sell and exchange seeds from their harvest.

By providing legal space – and empowering local communities by strengthening farmers’ seed systems – we are investing in a true path towards ending hunger.

We hope for broad support for this solution which we believe will help reduce hunger locally.

                                                           ***

Changing the game also requires from us that we make better use of a food treasury whose potential is even more untapped than the fields and gardens of the world:

The ocean.

Today, only 2-5 percent of global food consumption is seafood.

Norway has proven for centuries that we can harvest the riches of the sea without reducing their value – and we want to use our competence and experience to make a difference also for others. 

It is my firm belief that food from ocean, rivers and lakes will play a key role in ending hunger.

***

Distinguished delegates,

The task ahead of us is formidable – but it seems to me that most of the ingredients for urgent action are at hand:

The application of science.

Growing political will.

And – most of all – engagement from a broad set of stakeholders – including farmers and fisherfolk, the private sector, and young people, women and indigenous peoples.

Norway looks forward to engage in the further development of the Zero Hunger Coalition.

We remain committed to the goal of eradicating hunger and extreme poverty by 2030.

We remain dedicated  to the most effective and sustainable kind of growth – the growth that countries – citizens – farmers and fisherfolk– create with their own hands.

And we must do what we can to lend them a hand – realizing fully that lack of action – or even lacklustre action – equals accepting the unacceptable. 

Come the summit in September – we will be ready to take action.

MIL OSI Europe News