President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi has affirmed that the danger of famine limits the abilities of countries and governments to implement the objectives of sustainable development at all its levels.
Delivering a speech on Thursday via video conference to the UN Food Systems Summit, held during the UN General Assembly (UNGA) in New York, El-Sisi said: "Today's summit is convening at a very critical time which requires exerting more efforts to stand against complicated challenges that should be faced."
El-Sisi pointed out that establishing a sustainable food system that achieves food security tops priorities of our communities especially in light of the accelerated impact of climate change along with complicated political conditions in some areas.
Announced by UN Secretary-General António Guterres last October, the 2021 UN Food Systems Summit was held on Thursday as the first of its kind, convening world leaders.
The summit aims at transforming food systems so as to ensure all people have access to safe and nutritious food and mobilise national and regional action to achieve the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGSs).
This includes totally ending hunger and poverty by 2030 and achieving gender equality and climate action.
The summit comes amid a rise in the number of people living in poverty due to the coronavirus pandemic, the UN said on Thursday, noting that 600 million people are projected to remain poor by 2030.
Speakers at the summit included Guterres, World Bank President David Malpass, Director General of the World Trade Organization Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala and a number of key officials and state leaders.
"The danger of famine is threatening many areas of the world especially in Africa," El-Sisi said, adding that the escalation of such danger requires finding quick and effective solutions to save millions of humans, most of whom are women and children.
“Egypt has realised from an early time the favorable chance this summit represents to present ideas and solutions for these challenges as well as the role [the summit] can play in enhancing international cooperation and mobilising the necessary funding in this regard,” El-Sisi said.
“Egypt, therefore, hastened to play its role within the framework of the preparatory process for the summit nationally and regionally.”
On the national level, Egypt launched a comprehensive national dialogue on these issues in December 2020 that has resulted in a consensus on a national document for the transition to a healthy and sustainable food system, El-Sisi said.
The dialogue has involved relevant governmental institutions, private sector representatives and civil society organisations, he added.
Egypt also joined the School Meals Coalition, believing in the importance of providing healthy food to female and male students and the centrality of the international partnership’s contribution to achieving this goal, El-Sisi said.
He affirmed that “Egypt has become among the largest countries to implement this program in the region.”
“On the regional level, Egypt has been involved in formulating a unified African stance during the summit, which reflects the priorities of the continent’s peoples and the particularities of their challenges that are related to the food security,” El-Sisi added.
“We are determined to continue working with our African brothers in the face of these challenges in an effort to expedite the implementation of the African Union Agenda 2063,” El-Sisi said.
The president said the success of this summit “depends on the extent of our ability to come up with results that contribute to formulating a sustainable, ambitious, feasible food system.”
This food system should “consider the particularities of each state and its priorities without imposing certain visions and models,” El-Sisi said.
He also urged “providing the necessary funding through developing the creative financing mechanisms and an effective international cooperation that bring states together with the UN system parties and development partners.”
The president highlighted the importance of “setting effective and flexible follow-up mechanisms on the national and international levels, which contribute to achieving our desired goals and legitimate aspirations in meeting the needs of all our people.”
El-Sisi delivered on Tuesday a recorded speech to the 76th session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), where he urged debt relief for developing and African countries.