Foodstuffs and Grains

Agenda 2030: WTO organises seminar on key drivers of global food security

*The World Trade Organisation has organised a hybrid seminar that would contribute to deepening understanding among members of the main drivers behind food insecurity, and how policies, rules affect trade and markets, and the achievement of food security goals

Isola Moses | ConsumerConnect

The World Trade Organisation (WTO) has said it is committed to ensuring food security remains a major global public policy challenge for resolution in the current international context of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the armed conflict in Ukraine making even more daunting.

ConsumerConnect reports the UN agency at a recent hybrid seminar, involving technical perspectives said that the  event sought to provide an informal space for dialogue on trade and food security among Geneva-based trade officials, experts from international organisations and think tanks, and capital-based officials and policymakers.

The WTO stated in its overview of the programme on its corporate Web site, that “it will enable participants to explore the conceptual linkages between food security, policy frameworks, and trade and markets, drawing on empirical evidence and experience at the national and regional level.”

It also noted that participants were be able to look holistically at the relationship between trade and the multiple dimensions of food security, including access, availability, stability and use, in light of existing and future challenges.

“In doing so, the event will contribute to deepening understanding among members of the main drivers behind food insecurity, and how policies and rules affect trade and markets and the achievement of food security goals,” the organisation said.


The UN agency as well said while the global agricultural output has increased significantly in recent years as a result of technological advancement, there are many people still facing hunger and starvation.

According to the FAO, between 720 million and 811 million people in the world faced hunger in 2020.

“Ensuring food security therefore remains a major global public policy challenge that the current international context of the COVID-19 pandemic and the armed conflict in Ukraine makes even more daunting,” the WTO stated.

According to the body, the resulting increase in the prices of grains and other staple foodstuffs, as well as fertiliser, risk the adoption by members of measures such as export restrictions which could further exacerbate recent price increases.

It also noted: “The issue of food security is of critical importance to WTO Members, and this is reflected in a number of Decisions.

“It is also central in the current negotiations to reform global trade rules and also features prominently in the regular work of the Committee on Agriculture.

“WTO Ministers have also expressly acknowledged the food security challenges faced by Least-Developed and Net Food-Importing Developing Countries.

It further acknowledged that governments have also made important commitments to food security and trade in other fora, most notably at the United Nations (UN) as part of Agenda 2030, in the targets set out under Sustainable Development Goal 2.

WTO further said: “Since the adoption of the Agreement on Agriculture, while substantial overall progress has been achieved in reducing hunger, this trend has more recently been reversed, with the COVID-19 pandemic, climate change, economic downturns and conflicts among the factors affecting the number and proportion of hungry people in the world – with the armed conflict in Ukraine also recently emerging as an important additional threat to global food security.

“The United Nations Secretary-General and leaders of international organisations, including the WTO, FAO, WFP, IMF and the World Bank, as well as several Heads of State and Government, have all underlined the risks posed to global food security by the armed conflict in Ukraine.

In ensuring diversity, the organisation added that the Secretariat has taken into  consideration the importance of ensuring diversity among panelists, including with respect to gender, countries and regions, negotiating perspectives and trade and food security profiles.

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