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News Release

Forum G20 Task Force Group Presents Recommendations for Food Security

Kai Bucher, Associate Director, Media, Tel.: +1 212 703 2377; E-mail: kai.bucher@weforum.org  

  • First private-sector consultation to inform G20 agenda on food security
  • Recommendations focus on actions needed to stabilize global food markets and reduce price volatility, while improving technology innovation and environmental sustainability in the agricultural sector 
  • More information on the Forum’s Agriculture and Food Security Initiative: http://www.weforum.org/agriculture

Paris, June 8, 2011 – A group of 80 global leaders from business, international and regional organizations joined with the French G20 Presidency on Monday to define priority actions the G20 can take to improve global food security.

The meeting, convened by Bruno Le Maire, Minister of Agriculture, Food, Fisheries, Rural Affairs and Planning of France, in collaboration with the CEO Working Group on Food Security of the World Economic Forum’s G20 Task Force, was the first private-sector consultation as part of the G20 process on food and agricultural commodities price volatility.

The group discussed specific recommendations prepared by governments, international organizations and the Forum’s Working Group and network of Global Agenda Councils, who in turn drew on the expertise of a diverse network of stakeholders to inform their views.

“We are pleased that this group forms part of a broad network of stakeholders, including farmer leaders, experts and civil society groups, working with the World Economic Forum to develop solutions for global food security,” said Robert Greenhill, Managing Director of the World Economic Forum.

The recommendations focused on actions that will leverage private-sector investment, technology innovation and information to strengthen and stabilize global food markets and provide opportunities to poor farmers and consumers in the face of rising price volatility and hunger levels.

“The private sector can contribute a great deal to solving food insecurity, but this must be done in collaboration with governments, as part of an integrated strategy to improve the sustainability of our global food systems,” said Paul Polman, Chief Executive Officer, Unilever, who chairs the CEO Working Group on Food Security.

Bruno Le Maire, who is leading development of a G20 Action Plan on food and agricultural commodities price volatility, said: “We have agreed with the international business community on several priorities for action, which could be taken into account by the G20. These are designed to reduce price volatility and improve the productivity and sustainability of food systems over the long term.”

Specific areas for collaboration between public and private sectors outlined in the meeting, based on the priorities set by the G20 French Presidency, include:

  • Developing a global system to monitor information on food production and consumption, reserves and price levels, together with a mechanism to better anticipate and respond faster and in a more coordinated way to food crises.
  • Increasing the environmental sustainability of agriculture – including impacts on water, land and climate – through a coordinated effort to share best practices, catalyse partnerships and strengthen leadership.
  • Targeting technology innovation and distribution to specific regional needs, with active support and leadership from local stakeholders. These efforts can be accelerated through harmonizing and reforming policies, and establishing goals and incentives.
  • Establishing a mechanism to strengthen agriculture sector risk management tools and practices at country level as a key strategy for reducing the impacts of volatility on the poor and increasing agriculture sector investment.
  • Establishing partnerships for smallholder farmers’ education, engaging the private sector, governments, civil society and communities.

Participants also agreed on ways to better coordinate public and private sector efforts, including supporting the formation of national-level partnerships to engage the private sector in sustainable agricultural development, and establishing a global multistakeholder forum to exchange best practices and provide input to the G20 on an ongoing basis.

Companies participating in the CEO Working Group include Archer Daniels Midland (ADM), Danone, DuPont, Grupo Bimbo, Nestlé, Kraft Foods, Olayan Financing Company, PepsiCo, Swiss Reinsurance Company, Syngenta International, Unilever and Yara International.

The CEO Working Group is part of the Forum’s G20 Task Force, formed at the invitation of the G20 to provide private-sector input to the overall G20 process.

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