G20 kicks food security crisis down the road

G20 kicks food security crisis down the road

“We all agreed we are meeting in a very challenging and difficult situation. We are fully aware of the context. On the one hand, this challenging task is quite overwhelming. On the other, all countries strongly support Indonesia’s presidency, she said.

She said a 14 paragraph statement would be issued with those present agreeing on all but two paragraphs, which referenced the war in Europe. The meeting agreed supply channels need to be opened up from food producing countries – presumably including Russia and the Ukraine – but appears to have not found a way to do this.

On Friday, Ms Sri Mulyani had implored the finance leaders to find a way to address rising commodity prices that have pushed up the price of food staples. A strengthening US dollar has added to fears indebted poorer countries could unravel as Sri Lanka has done.

However, the Russian war on Ukraine that is the source of much of the instability has also proved to be an immovable obstacle to any solution. Western nations are determined to maintain tough sanctions on Russia, Other prominent economies including China, India and Indonesia have declined to sign on.

Finance ministers from Russia and China attended the G20 meeting virtually. Russia’s deputy finance minister Timur Maksimov was present in person, along with IMF chief Kristalina Georgieva.

Ms Sri Mulyani Indrawati said millions of people – if not billions – were relying on G20 members to agree on meaningful action to safeguard the global economy.

“The world is watching us closely. We need to act together to demonstrate why the G20 deserves its reputation as the premier forum for international co-operation,” Ms Sri Mulyani said on Friday.

“We are acutely aware that the cost of our failure to work together is more than we can afford. The humanitarian consequences for the world, and especially lower income countries, would be catastrophic.”

Saturday’s meeting committed financing for a financial intermediary fund (FIF) that will finance critical investments to strengthen pandemic preparations. The establishment of a global infrastructure hub, green financing, an international tax package and cross-border payments were also on the agenda.

with Reuters

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