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Guterres and Meloni at Rome Food Systems Summit; Ukraine in the background

ROME, JULY 24 – For the next three days Rome becomes a hub for discussing and strategizing issues related to food security. The objective is Zero Hunger, as in the Sustainable Development Goals set by the United Nations for 2030, but the war in Ukraine – and Russia’s withdrawal from the grain agreement – has anchored to the present the UN Food Systems Summit opening today in the Italian capital.

Meloni: “Russia must reconsider the decision on grain”

“The fact that Russia has withdrawn from the agreement only makes the lack of food security more evident. Russia should reconsider its decision,” said Giorgia Meloni, the Prime Minister, echoing the appeal made by the UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres: “Return to the implementation of the Black Sea initiative – he said at the opening of the summit, co-organized by Italy with the United Nations, at FAO headquarters – and I urge the global community to remain united in finding effective solutions in this essential commitment and effort.”

Guterres e Mattarella UNRICThe issue was also discussed during the meeting at the Quirinale Palace between Guterres and the President of the Italian Republic, Sergio Mattarella. “I read about your appeal to Russia to reconsider the disastrous decision to no longer proceed with the grain agreement, and your call is crucial,” said the Italian host. Russia’s decision, he continued, “is a very serious one with consequences for many countries where many people would face difficulties in accessing food.”

126 countries and 22 Heads of State and Government are participating in the summit, along with Guterres and his deputy, Amina Mohammed. Over 2,000 participants have a weighty commitment: currently, 43 million people are at risk of dying due to lack of food, while those experiencing food crises are between 691 and 783 million, 122 million more than in 2019. Italy plays not only the role of the host country but also as organizer and promoter of the event, thanks to its recognized leadership in the food sector. For the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Antonio Tajani, it is a source of pride for Italy to have organized the world summit on food security in Rome: “A priority for the government to improve the lives of those who are without food and those who cannot eat healthily. The wealthiest countries must lend a hand to those in need.”

The role of climate change

Among the topics discussed is the relationship between climate change and food systems, which has severely weakened rural areas and led to malnutrition and nutrition-related diseases, affecting our own country as well. The aim of the summit is to draw attention to food security, “a global crisis,” and the need for involvement not only from governments but also from parliaments in international cooperation. To achieve the Zero Hunger goal by 2030, according to the UN agency Ifad (International Fund for Agricultural Development), an additional $400 billion investment per year in food systems is required, meaning efforts must be doubled in half the time. (@OnuItalia)

Il giornale Italiano delle Nazioni Unite. Ha due redazioni, una a New York, l’altra a Roma.

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