G20 Agriculture Ministers focus on Sustainability
By admin February 8, 2017

Photo by Chu Tai

The ninth meeting of the Ministers of Agriculture of the Group of 20 (G20) took place in Berlin on January 22, 2017. It was the first of a series of ministerial meetings and working groups in preparation for the upcoming G20 summit that will take place in Hamburg, Germany from July 7 to 8, 2017. These preparatory meetings are an opportunity to address specific topics in more depth. The G20 Agriculture Ministers adopted an ‘Action Plan’ with three main areas of focus:

  • Water for agriculture;
  • The use of information and communication technologies (ICT) in agriculture;
  • Combating anti-microbial resistance (AMR).

It was agreed upon that Information and Communication Technology (ICT) in agriculture was very important and that, farmers needed proper access to infrastructure so as to improve their ICT skills and the connectivity of ICT applications and equipment. During the meeting of the G20 Agriculture Ministers, the Director-General of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), José Graziano da Silva, spoke about the challenges facing agriculture today, notably climate change and resource scarcity. He explained that this made the sector, now more than ever, knowledge intensive and he therefore called for adapted information technologies for the developing world farmers. Helping them develop their activity in order to feed a growing world population as he argued:

Millions of small family farmers need technical and financial assistance to be more resilient and adapt to the impacts of climate change. They must be able to stay on their land, produce their own food and also have access to markets.”

Ministers are also committed to improve the integration of sustainable water management in food and agricultural policies. In order to relieve the pressure on water resources, the Action Plan focuses on reducing food waste and improving policy coherence. In regards the sustainable agriculture in water resources, the Action plan also encourages responsible public and private investment in sustainable water management as well as improved plant and animal breeding to enhance water-use efficiency and resilience.

Just days before the G20 meeting of Agriculture Ministers, The Think 20, a network of research institutes and think tanks from the G20 countries, released a policy brief on how to eradicate hunger and improve agricultural sustainability. They argue for new resource policies for sustainable land and water use in order to achieve food and security for all. Indeed, the argument made is that land, water, and energy need to be considered jointly in policies. In this brief, the focus was on promoting partnerships between scientists and policy-makers. They also stress the importance of research and the development of ICT tools to improve efficiency. Another important point mentioned was the necessity to improve global governance with regards to food and agriculture, and the challenge of all forms of malnutrition. Priorities regarding these issues are articulated into four main points those G20 countries’ policy makers, and all the other relevant stakeholders should consider:

  • Focusing land, and water resource policies on human wellbeing;
  • Investing in and sharing water, agricultural and energy innovations;
  • Making wider use of digital opportunities for sustainable agriculture;
  • Re-designing global governance of agriculture and food.

Anti-microbial resistance was again, one of the main areas of focus of the meeting and Ministers are committed to take actions to reduce the risk of diseases and to prevent unnecessary use of antibiotics.

Last December, a press release outlined the priorities of the G20 Summit. They articulate around the 2030 sustainable agenda and the necessity to focus on common goals so that “everyone stands to benefit


Read more:

G20 Agriculture Ministers’ Declaration 2017

IISD: G20 Agriculture Ministers Adopt Action Plan

G20 insights

Sustainable development network: Policy Brief

More support to family farmers needed to meet rising food demands

Thanks for sharing !

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