Committee on World Food Security agrees on global standards for investment in agriculture

Federal Minister Christian Schmidt: "An important step towards implementing the human right to food"

On Wednesday, the member states of the Committee on World Food Security at the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) unanimously adopted the Principles for Responsible Investment in Agriculture and Food Systems.

On the occasion of this year's World Food Day, Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture Christian Schmidt declared in Berlin: "More than 800 million people worldwide are starving and 2 billion people are suffering from malnutrition. We urgently need public and private investment in the agricultural sector and the entire value-added chain to sustainably improve the food situation. But this investment must be made in a responsible manner in order to serve this aim and to not cause harm. For the first time, we now have a regulatory framework for this purpose."

The Principles are aimed at ensuring that investments will be of benefit to the population in developing and emerging countries. "We have achieved an international consensus on the most important requirements for good investment in the agri-food sector," Federal Minister Schmidt said and, with a view to the German agri-food businesses investing in developing and emerging countries, underlined that: "Germany will seek to ensure at international level that these Principles are made known and implemented all over the world. In this regard, I also believe that private investors bear considerable responsibility in this respect." During the negotiations, Germany succeeded in incorporating important key issues concerning food security into the Principles, Schmidt continued. "We have succeeded in focusing more on small farmers and producers and in clearly defining the duties of the governments on the one hand and the responsibilities of private investors on the other. The federal government has supported the work on the Principles from the beginning. The BMEL thus continues its long-standing successful commitment to strengthening the rights-based approach to food security."

The participants in the meeting of the Committee on World Food Security also discussed the annual world hunger report entitled "The State of Food Insecurity in the World" on Thursday. In spite of the fact that, in global terms, the world hunger report shows a positive development in the fight against hunger, Schmidt said that further efforts were required to improve global food security. "Latin America as well as East and South-East Asia have made decisive progress in the fight against hunger. But in other parts of Asia and particularly in Africa, many people remain afflicted by chronic malnutrition. Germany will continue to promote a secure framework and good governance at global level as these are the prerequisites for improving the food situation in the relevant regions with the help of urgently required investment in the agricultural sector."

Background information on the Principles for Responsible Investment in Agriculture and Food Systems

The Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture (BMEL) has for many years lent its support to realising the right to food on a global scale and has been committed to elaborating new guidelines and standards under international law describing the duties of states and the responsibilities of private actors arising from the human right to food. The Principles are the result of a multi-annual consultation and negotiation process of the states, with the extensive participation of both industry and civil society, within the FAO committee on World Food Security. In contrast to the elaboration of other guidelines on the structuring of investments, the representatives of the small farmers, fishermen and workers in the agricultural sector, i.e. those directly affected by food security, as well as private investors and foundations this time actually sat at the table with the state representatives. This large group of participants provides a high degree of legitimacy to the Principles and sets them apart from other international instruments intended to structure investment.

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