The Food Coalition, officially launched Nov. 5, will support innovative COVID-19 initiatives, identified in the context of various synergistic lines of action, not only to ensure global food access, but also to increase the resilience of and, in many cases, the transformation of agri-food systems in a more sustainable manner.
According to the FAO, COVID-19 may add up to 132 million more people to the ranks of the world’s undernourished this year, on top of the 690 million hungry people in 2019—highlighting the challenge that the pandemic poses to the eradication of hunger by 2030. Moreover, the current health crisis will have long-term effects on food security, affecting production, farmers' health and access to markets, rural jobs and livelihoods, triggering decreasing food supply and demand in rural and urban areas alike with adverse nutritional results.
First proposed by the government of Italy in the summer, the Food Coalition now has more than 30 member countries that have pledged to support existing and future efforts to overcome the pandemic’s disruptive impacts and help countries get back on track to achieve the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals by 2030, particularly those of ending hunger and poverty. The alliance involves a devoted trust fund and a web-based hub allowing participants to access a basket of project-focused information and data, as well as the funding and types of assistance needed for many on-the-ground projects.
“We must increase the exchange of knowledge and leverage global momentum to promote food security and nutrition,” said FAO Director-General QU Dongyu, hailing the Food Coalition as a lever to attract and harness innovative thinking and solutions. “The aim is to build a global alliance with a network of national governments, international organizations, thought leaders, civil societies and the private sector working together for a unified global action.”