Opening Statement by Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock at the Conference “Uniting for Global Food Security”
Thank you for joining us.
Uniting for Global Food Secrity.
First families lose their land.
Then they lose their livestock.
And then they lose their children.
That’s the United Nations’ dreadful assessment of the food crisis in Somalia, where hundreds of thousands of children are suffering from acute malnutrition.
But not only in the Horn of Africa, also in the Sahel, in the Middle East and many other regions across the world, millions of men, women and children don’t know where their next meal will come from.
It’s a storm of multiple crises that is driving this hunger crisis worldwide – from conflicts, often sparked by climate-related disasters, to the impacts of the pandemic.
Russia’s war in Ukraine is exacerbating all of these factors with devastating force.
Russia is using hunger as a weapon.
And it is seeking to shift the blame to others, playing a cynical game of lies.
The facts, however, speak a clear language:
It is not the sanctions that are to blame for the food crisis.
It is correct – and that’s what we are also addressing today - that sanctions can have indirect effects: when, for example, companies or banks are withdrawing from transactions that are actually legitimate – out of caution. In the EU, we are working to provide legal clarity on this.
However, the contribution of these indirect effects is small in comparison to the Russian interventions in the market.
– such as the blockade of ports,
the obstruction of harvesting as a result of hostilities,
and the destruction of infrastructure.
Had Russia not brutally violated the UN Charter, the world would not be in this place.
In March, 141 countries came together in the General Assembly in New York, Uniting for Peace in Ukraine.
Today, we are here to Unite for Global Food Security.
Our message is clear:
Solidarity with Ukraine and solidarity with those most affected by the food crisis are inseparable.
We have united here to address the global food crisis in all its complexity.
That’s why I am very grateful to have the Minister of Economic Cooperation and Development, Svenja Schulze, and the Minister of Agriculture, Cem Ozdemir, by my side to jointly host today’s conference to address the global food crisis.
We are bringing the broadest possible group together: 50 delegations.
Ministers and officials from the G7, the Champions’ Group, from the G20 and the African Union, from key donor countries, but also – and that is important – from the most vulnerable countries.
Because we need to hear your voice. This is about parents fearing for their children’s lives. We are here to use our joint power to help ease their suffering.
That’s why we are also joined by representatives of the UN and the EU, NGOs and philanthropists – all here in Berlin to take action.
A very warm welcome to all of you!
Four aspects will be crucial in our efforts today:
First, we must join forces to help get Ukraine’s food exports out of the country.
Second, we urgently need to step up our humanitarian assistance.
Third, we must address the underlying factors to make the world less vulnerable to food crises – particularly the climate crisis.
Fourth, we must closely look into possible indirect effects of sanctions and find solutions with our partners that provide clarity to all.
What’s clear is: We are not in a sprint but in a long distance-run. We must keep global food security on the agenda – for those men, women and children who are suffering worldwide!
Together, we can win this battle.
Uniting for Global Food Security.