Intervention by H.E. Rabab Fatima, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Bangladesh to the UN at the Briefing on Food Systems Summit, Virtual on 23 April 2021

Thank you, Madam Chair.

I thank you DSG, for convening today’s meeting. I thank you, and the Special Envoy for your comprehensive and insightful briefings; and commend you for your leadership in steering the preparations of this important summit.

The COVID-19 pandemic has aggravated the global hunger situation. The LDCs and other vulnerable countries are bearing the heaviest brunt. We need an ambitious and transformative global agenda to reverse this situation.

And in that light, we believe that the summit is very timely. We appreciate its action-oriented goals with five specific action tracks as well as opportunities for a robust multi-stakeholder engagement. We held our first national dialogue on the summit in January involving all stakeholders, including the youth.  We look forward to participating in the pre-summit event in July at a high level.

We subscribe to the idea of making this a “people’s summit” and a “solutions summit” in the real sense.  We hope that some of the concerns raised regarding the procedural aspect would be addressed soon to ensure the outcome that we all envisage

Let me share some thoughts that we wish to see in the outcome document:

 First, we must address the root causes of hunger, which are intrinsically linked with access to safe and nutritious food at an affordable price. While the agricultural revolution has enhanced the food production manifold, the problems in food distribution and supply chain management remain daunting. Annually one third of the global food production is wasted or lost due to inefficient distribution. We must create a more efficient food storage and distribution system to reverse this situation, especially in developing countries, including through addressing unfair trade practices, as others have highlighted.

Ensuring the right to food must be the overarching goal.  In this regard, some important recommendations have been offered by previous speakers, especially by my good friends, the ambassadors of Brazil and Morocco, which we fully endorse.

Secondly, as you have also rightly highlighted DSG, women are disproportionately impacted by hunger due to discriminatory gender norms in many societies. In many places, women and girls in a family eat whatever is left over. We must address this gender gap in hunger through specific actions and awareness.  We need to recognize the critical role played by women in food production, and to further supporting them.

Thirdly, climate change and food production have complex interactions. On the one hand, climate change poses high risks to all dimensions of food security, namely availability, access, and utilization. On the other hand, food production is responsible for almost 25% of the global greenhouse gas emissions. To overcome these challenges, we need targeted technology support from the developed and advanced developing countries for agricultural R&D, food distribution, and storage.

Finally, I wish to reiterate that it is imperative to invest more in sustainable production and consumption patterns. It is imperative to ensure sufficient investment for the development of productive capacity and right kind of technologies in the low-income countries, especially to produce high quality food at an affordable price. We must transform our unhealthy consumption patterns.

[Madame Chair] We are preparing for the food system summit in parallel with other major events namely COP-26 for climate change, biodiversity summit, LDC5 conference etc. It is imperative to work in sync with these processes and build stronger partnerships to enhance synergies among our efforts, as we build back better and stronger from the pandemic.

These were some initial thoughts.  We shall remain deeply engaged in the process towards a productive outcome.

I thank you all.