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Communiqué

G20 Agriculture and Water Ministers, published on November 22, 2020
[pdf]

Preamble

  1. We, the G20 Agriculture and Water Ministers, met on September 12, 2020 and confirmed our will to strengthen our policy cooperation towards food security and nutrition as well as our intent to work towards sustainable and resilient water management. These issues have profound implications for people's wellbeing, economic growth and ability to cope with environmental and health challenges, including natural disasters, biodiversity loss and diseases, for a fast growing, urbanized and interconnected world population. We are deeply saddened by the devastating human losses and suffering caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. We recognize its impact on food security and nutrition, and we also recognize the importance of water, sanitation, and hygiene services to tackle the pandemic. We remain committed to strengthening the resilience and sustainability of food systems at all levels. We also recognize the critical importance of adequate access to safe and sufficient water for human life, health and food security, and therefore the need for sustainable and integrated water resources management.
  2. We acknowledge the consistent focus on food security and nutrition, as well as sustainable agri-food value chains in past G20 Presidencies. Recalling the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, we identified collective efforts to foster resilient, inclusive and sustainable agriculture and food systems and water management. We recognize the significant challenges to food security and water management posed by a multitude of factors including climate change, extreme weather events and natural disasters among others. In this regard, we recall the 2019 Osaka Leaders' Declaration. We highlight the importance of open, transparent and predictable trade, consistent with World Trade Organization (WTO) rules, to enhance market predictability, increase business confidence, and allow agri-food trade to flow so as to contribute to food security and nutrition.
  3. In this context, we commit to work together on the issues below.

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I. Responding to COVID-19

  1. We, the G20 Agriculture Ministers, reaffirm the commitments made in our Ministerial Statement on April 21, 2020, in particular to cooperate closely and take concrete and effective actions to safeguard global food security and nutrition. We acknowledge and appreciate the tremendous efforts being made by all actors to help keep food supply chains functioning under difficult circumstances, including during times where there are imbalances between supply and demand. We will continue to guard against any unjustified restrictive measures that could lead to excessive food price volatility in international markets, which could threaten the continued recovery of all facets of the global food supply chain and more broadly food security and nutrition. We agree that emergency or recovery measures in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic must be targeted, proportionate, transparent, and temporary; that they do not create unnecessary barriers to trade or disruption to global food supply chains; and are consistent with WTO rules. We commend the G20 Trade and Investment Ministers' endorsement of the "G20 Actions to Support World Trade and Investment in Response to COVID-19" on May 14, 2020, which includes the action to "refrain from introducing export restrictions on agricultural products, including on products purchased for non-commercial humanitarian purposes, and avoid unnecessary food-stockpiling, without prejudice to domestic food security, consistent with national requirements."
  2. We call on international organizations to continue monitoring and reporting on the impacts of COVID-19 on food security and nutrition, advise on preventative, emergency and recovery measures and to provide recommendations on strengthening the global agriculture and food system resilience and sustainability in the wake of COVID-19, and in accordance with our commitments in the April Statement. In line with the One Health approach, we call for strengthened mechanisms for monitoring, early warning, preparedness, prevention, detection, response, and control of zoonotic diseases, and developing science-based international guidelines on stricter safety and hygienic measures for zoonosis control. Moreover, and without prejudice to applicable international rules on wildlife trade, we call upon the Tripartite to develop a list of wildlife species and conditions under which they could present significant risks of transmitting zoonoses, and to issue guidelines towards mitigating these risks.
  3. We particularly acknowledge the important contributions of the Agriculture Market Information System (AMIS) initiative, and the Group on Earth Observations Global Agricultural Monitoring (GEOGLAM) to enhancing food market transparency and supporting coordinated policy responses for food security, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. To ensure AMIS's work in reducing global food market uncertainties continues, we agree to provide data and voluntary resources to the AMIS initiative. We strive for continued and proactive support of these initiatives, including through voluntary financial contributions.

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II. Responsible Investment in Agriculture and Food Systems (RIAFS)

  1. We consider that a significant increase in responsible investment in agriculture and food systems is needed to meet the global challenge of feeding the growing population in an inclusive and socially, environmentally and economically sustainable manner. Prior to COVID-19, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) estimated that additional investments of US$265 billion per year during 2016-2030 would be necessary to end hunger in the world. We are concerned by the likely substantial increase in the number of people, in particular rural women and youth, suffering from food insecurity and malnutrition following the COVID-19 pandemic. Substantial and continued investments are needed for countries, particularly developing countries, to foster sustainable and resilient food systems that can contribute to achieve long term food security, meet requirements for improved nutrition, enhance livelihoods, increase agriculture and food sector productivity sustainably. There is scope for improving the alignment of support to agriculture with responsible investment principles, in line with WTO rules, and with the goal of making agriculture more productive, sustainable and resilient. We acknowledge and encourage the critical role of the private sector to build upon public efforts to improve agri-food systems for the benefit of all stakeholders.
  2. We affirm the importance of promoting, scaling-up and monitoring the use of internationally agreed voluntary guidance, such as the Committee on World Food Security Principles for Responsible Investment in Agriculture and Food Systems (CFS-RAI Principles) to help meet responsible investment needs. We welcome the on-going work under various partnerships between investors and delivery partners in this area. We also acknowledge that G20 members, through their international leadership role, can continue promoting responsible agricultural investment to improve the sustainability in agriculture and food systems. In line with the CFS-RAI Principles and the Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land, Fisheries and Forests in the Context of National Food Security (VGGT), we encourage possible recipient countries of agricultural investment to develop more robust legal and regulatory mechanisms that protect the legitimate tenure rights and other rights of individuals and local communities, including food sector farmers/producers and workers. It is also necessary to take into account the crucial role played by family farms, small-scale farmers and women in meeting food demand. We recognize that responsible investment in agriculture and food systems is a pillar of the G20 Framework for Food Security and Nutrition and its importance has been emphasized in previous G20 Agriculture Ministers' and Leaders' Declarations. We note that responsible investments in agriculture and food systems and trade in agri-food products are interlinked, and are important for global food security and nutrition, food safety, inclusive economic growth, farm profitability, rural prosperity, decent work and job opportunities and sustainable development.
  3. Increased public sector investment can play a role in leveraging responsible investment in agriculture and food systems by the private sector and will be particularly important in the recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. Efforts to increase responsible investment in agriculture and food systems must recognize that a significant portion of investment in agriculture is made by farmers themselves. Therefore, further efforts are needed to enable greater participation of private resources for rural credit funding and the use of capital market and risk management instruments to help farmers expand their possibilities of credit acquisition. Also, expanding opportunities for the participation of small-scale and other family farms, micro-, small- and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) and entrepreneurs in agri-food value chains is necessary, with a specific focus on the inclusion of women and youth. We will further support the expanded implementation of the VGGT, the CFS-RAI Principles, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)-FAO Guidance for Responsible Agricultural Supply Chains and related instruments, support their monitoring and encourage implementation through existing mechanisms and efforts.
  4. We endorse the G20 Riyadh Statement to Enhance Implementation of Responsible Investment in Agriculture and Food Systems (G20 Riyadh RIAFS Statement) consistent with these internationally agreed instruments. This Statement underlines the importance of increasing responsible investments to drive sustainable and inclusive growth in the agriculture and food sectors.

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III. Rural Development

  1. Recognizing the United Nations Decade of Family Farming, we emphasize the importance of rural development and acknowledge the challenges for many family farms, which account for the majority of the world's farms and food production. Many smaller-scale family farms and rural communities, particularly in developing countries, suffer from poverty or struggle economically, and the current COVID-19 crisis exacerbated their difficulties, with rural women and youth being especially vulnerable. We encourage efforts to enhance the sustainability, resilience and efficiency of value chains, strengthening the links between small-scale farmers, producers and markets and recall the objectives of the 2017 G20 Initiative for Rural Youth Employment. Responsible investment needs to harness market opportunities in agriculture and food systems to advance rural economies in an inclusive and sustainable way to allow farmers to thrive while preventing degradation of natural resources. In line with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and recognizing that rural economies have significant variation across the G20 member countries, strengthening rural economies is a foundation for ensuring food security and nutrition, tackling poverty and for creating economic opportunities, including decent work, for rural populations. To support rural development, we recognize the need for increased investments in rural infrastructure, including through public-private partnerships (PPPs), improved sustainable management of natural resources and ensuring people in rural areas have access to safe, resilient and sustainable water, sanitation, and hygiene services, energy, digital services, and basic social services responsive to women and youth including education and healthcare. We also recognize the importance of targeted approaches to agricultural and rural development in resource-challenged areas, and the importance of strengthening the meaningful participation, in particular of women and youth, in agri-food development decision-making processes. We acknowledge the importance of investment in rural development as part of the G20 Riyadh RIAFS Statement.

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IV. Food Loss and Waste (FL&W)

  1. Under the current challenging circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic, we stress the importance of avoiding food loss and waste, in particular caused by disruptions throughout global food supply chains, which could exacerbate food insecurity, malnutrition and economic loss. Preserving the smooth functioning of food markets and identifying new markets and marketing channels consistent with WTO rules can help reduce economic loss for producers while mitigating the impact of COVID-19 on consumers. We recognize that FL&W is a serious global issue with approximately one third of food being lost or wasted. This issue demands increased cooperation and action by G20 members through improved awareness, novel practices and innovative approaches including sharing case studies and data analysis. We acknowledge the need for an integrated and comprehensive food systems approach and call for cross-sectional inter-ministerial cooperation as appropriate.
  2. We commit to continue furthering FL&W reduction initiatives and reaffirm the need for each country to voluntarily set baselines in line with any agreed international methodologies for measuring food loss and waste. We endeavor to work closely with FAO, the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the OECD, the Collaboration Initiative on FL&W launched at the Meeting of Agricultural Chief Scientists of G20 States (MACS) in 2015 and other relevant international bodies at global, regional and sub-regional levels to improve data collection mechanisms and the quality and availability of FL&W baseline estimates, share experiences on national practices and measuring FL&W, and to make progress on reducing FL&W. We seek to accelerate efforts to ensure G20 members have FL&W reduction targets and the means to measure actions and progress towards these targets. We commit to further share best practices through the Technical Platform on the Measurement and Reduction of Food Loss and Waste as well as the Global Platform for FL&W research and experts, both established under the G20 Turkish Presidency in 2015, and advocate G20-partnerships to share practical experiences.
  3. We acknowledge the goal of voluntarily establishing intermediate country-specific targets to strengthen efforts to halve, by 2030, per capita global food waste at the retail and consumer levels and reduce food losses along production and supply chains, including post-harvest losses. We support enhanced collaboration and cooperation between public, private and civil society actors; the adoption of sustainable business models and technologies; the redistribution of surplus food that would otherwise be wasted; the sustainable processing of food waste without compromising public and animal health; the promotion of education programs as well as behavioral changes along all food chains to prevent and reduce FL&W including at the level of consumers. We note that measures aimed at reducing food loss and waste through the agri-food value chain should not lead to a decrease in the level of safety and quality of food products.
  4. We recognize that plant pests and diseases and animal diseases are significant contributors to reduced production and also to food loss at the post-harvest or post-production stage, which could be reduced with appropriate sanitary and phytosanitary measures. We recognize the growing risk of transboundary plant pests and diseases and animal diseases, and the crippling effect pest and disease outbreaks can have on food security and nutrition, farmers' livelihoods, trade and economic growth, as well as the risks to human health. We stress the need for collaborative research, knowledge and experience sharing as well as information gathering about the current status of emerging and existing transboundary plant pests and diseases and animal diseases, identifying best practices and appropriate technologies for prevention, detection and mitigation of risks, and strengthening policy responses. Taking into consideration 2020 as the International Year of Plant Health (IYPH), we encourage the continued development of the ePhyto hub and increased uptake in its use. We affirm the importance of the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE), the International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC) and Codex Alimentarius Commission (Codex) standards and the use of the OIE World Animal Health Information System and the FAO/OIE Global Framework for the Progressive Control of Transboundary Animal Diseases mechanism in order to increase our preparedness for future plant pests and diseases and animal disease outbreaks.
  5. We acknowledge the increasing occurrence of resistance to antimicrobial agents in some microorganisms, including pathogens, that can be transmitted directly between humans and animals as well as through the food chain and via the environment. We are concerned about inappropriate use of antimicrobial agents in agriculture and food systems globally, which is not in line with OIE and Codex international standards, and the risk this poses to human, animal and environmental health. Use of antimicrobials can select for resistance, so we reaffirm our commitment to reduce the need for and inappropriate use of antimicrobials in agriculture and food systems. We recognize that without coordinated and collaborative global efforts in relevant sectors, risks to human, animal and environmental health due to AMR would further increase. Consequently, and in line with the One Health approach, we reaffirm the commitments G20 Agriculture ministers made previously in that regard and commit to accelerate the global fight against AMR in agriculture and food systems on the basis of internationally agreed OIE and Codex standards. We note on-going discussions in inter-sectorial or interdisciplinary fora such as the Tripartite Plus organizations (WHO, FAO, OIE and UNEP), Codex, IPPC, and other United Nations related bodies including the General Assembly and encourage the work of the Tripartite Plus organizations to enhance the capacity of countries to combat AMR.
  6. We stress the importance of fostering basic and applied research and development (R&D) to produce tools and technologies to minimize the development of resistance, strengthen infection prevention and control, as well as maintain the effectiveness of antimicrobial agents. We recognize the launch of the "Dynamic Dashboard" by the Global AMR R&D Hub presenting AMR R&D investments globally in digital form. We agree to strive to implement integrated surveillance for and sharing of information on AMR. We recognize the need for further coordinated multi-sectoral action to reduce the spread of AMR at the human-animal-environment interface and look forward to working with countries outside the G20 on this topic at the "One Health" UN high-level dialogue on AMR.

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VI. Stocktaking Exercise and MACS

  1. We recognize the importance of stocktaking of the progress of previously launched G20 initiatives to ensure their relevance and consistency. We will actively support the relevant initiatives as part of our collective global efforts to improve food systems, ensure food security and nutrition and support rural development.
  2. We highly appreciate the role of MACS in identifying research priorities and targets and facilitating global scientific collaboration, in particular considering the currently unfolding impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on food systems across regions. We encourage the MACS' activities to maximize the use of existing global efforts aimed at advancing technologies and practices for sustainably increasing animal and plant productivity in drylands and more globally for sustainable and resilient food systems. We welcome their activities for promoting and sharing innovative and sustainable agricultural practices, including the application of cutting-edge technologies, to address global food security and nutrition challenges and the demand for water in the context of the water-energy-food nexus. We reaffirm that all these activities will accelerate our cooperation and strengthen our scientific collaboration to achieve sustainable, resilient and inclusive food systems, improve plant and animal health, conserve our natural environment, and contribute to global food security and nutrition.

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VII. Shaping New Frontiers

  1. We emphasize the importance of digital transformation and innovation in agriculture and sustainable water management, particularly in the light of the COVID-19 pandemic, driven by knowledge and information sharing, and encourage such collaboration to be founded on the principles of openness, inclusiveness, transparency, reciprocity and excellence. We also emphasize the importance of investment in research and development (R&D) to promote the use of sustainable new technologies and approaches, as well as to foster business models and value-chain innovation, so "no one will be left behind", as outlined in and to help achieve the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development ambitions and create sustainable food supply chains to facilitate food security and nutrition.
  2. In this context, we encourage acceleration in the development and use of sustainable technologies and practices both for agriculture and for water, in order to support the development of more productive, efficient, resilient, inclusive and sustainable food and integrated water resources management systems. New technologies should be used in tandem with existing approaches such as nature-based solutions or ecosystem-based approaches, among other options, as appropriate. We stress the importance of empowering women and youth to help shape innovation and have equitable access to productive assets, financial services, information and skills training in order to promote inclusive growth. We encourage efforts to extend digital infrastructure and services to rural areas, where it lags behind urban areas, to promote productivity, sustainability, resilience and employment opportunities in agriculture, especially for rural women and youth. We encourage the use of inclusive decision support systems, such as inclusive and participatory approaches, for research and innovation with the objective to boost implementation of adapted research results across the agricultural and food sector.

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VIII. Fostering Sustainable and Resilient Water Management

  1. We, the G20 Water Ministers, acknowledge the 2016 G20 Agriculture Ministers' Communiqué commitment to invest more in agricultural research and infrastructure to improve sustainable water management in agriculture. In addition, we recall the Agriculture Ministers' commitment to the 2017 G20 Agriculture Ministers' Action Plan, "Towards food and water security: Fostering sustainability, advancing innovations". We also further note the 2018 G20 Buenos Aires Leaders' Declaration emphasizing the importance of sustainable water management practices and the 2019 G20 Osaka Leaders' Declaration on the urgent need to address fresh water and marine pollution as a complex and pressing issue.
  2. In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, we commit to, as part of an environmentally sustainable, resilient, and inclusive recovery, cooperating closely and taking concrete actions to maintain existing services and accelerate the extension of access to safe, resilient, and sustainable water, sanitation, and hygiene services across the world, as they are essential to tackle all infectious diseases. To enable critical hygienic measures such as handwashing, we commit to take action to provide adequate access to safe and affordable water, including in health care facilities.
  3. We recognize that availability of safe and reliable water and reducing the risk and impact of water-related disasters are critical for social wellbeing and economic stability, resilient sustainable development since human and animal health, biodiversity and healthy ecosystems, agriculture, industry, energy, livelihoods, poverty reduction, gender and social equality depend on the availability of water in adequate quantity and quality in a sustainable and inclusive manner. Unsustainable water consumption, low water efficiency and lack of integrated water resources management increase the risks of water scarcity and pollution, damages from water-related disasters, desertification, soil erosion and salinization, biodiversity loss, the degradation of water and water-related ecosystems as well as limited safe water consumption and access to water supply and sanitation services.
  4. We consider water a vital concern at all levels as water challenges affect human life, people's livelihoods, global supply chains, food security, nutrition and ecosystems. We recognize that these impacts are disproportionately felt by poor and vulnerable people. We appreciate the efforts to address water challenges at all appropriate levels and see the value in strengthening the efficiency of current mechanisms and instruments. We thus encourage the international community to work more closely together especially with the UN system, including UN-Water, through the promotion of cooperation and collaboration on sustainable, integrated water management, as appropriate, aligning agendas, sharing innovation and best practices and reducing duplication and maximizing synergies towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), especially SDG 6.
  5. Current global levels of water-related investment are inadequate to achieve the SDGs. Estimates from OECD and the World Water Council indicate that global financing needs for water and sanitation infrastructure could reach US$22.6 trillion by 2050. We recognize the need to strengthen the enabling environment for responsible investment and to mobilize all financial and non-financial resources, national and international, public and private, including blended financing, in line with PPPs, to address water challenges and note the numerous existing opportunities to share information and best practices on innovative financial solutions for water infrastructure.
  6. Given the impact of water scarcity and poor water quality on the water cycle and sustainable development, as well as the significant impact on biodiversity and ecosystems, we underline the need to recognize the social and environmental value and economic dimensions of water, as appropriate; to manage water in a resilient, sustainable and integrated manner; to prioritize water demand management and conservation and substantially increase water use efficiency and water productivity; to develop solutions to work towards sustainable use, including nature-based solutions or ecosystem-based approaches, as appropriate; and to address risks to water quality and quantity, and prevent or reduce the impact of water-related disasters. These principles apply across sectors and different types of farming systems, from irrigated to rainfed, which can increase crop productivity sustainably to support global food security and job creation in rural areas.
  7. We encourage water savings when possible and the development of sustainable non-conventional water resources, such as re-use of treated wastewater. We encourage doing so in a way that fully integrates sanitary and environmental issues (safe drinking water, avoid pollution), prevents and avoids negative side effects, in particular at the basin scale, and promotes water conservation and efficient use of water resources. We will incorporate the principles of sustainable water management – in particular by focusing on reducing, reusing and recycling and in the context of sustainable consumption and production. Moreover, at all appropriate levels, water policies and regulations need to be strengthened to implement integrated water resources management, recognizing the inelastic supply of water as an integral factor, and to improve policy coherence across water-using sectors, taking into account local conditions and countries' different levels of development and respecting national policies and priorities. We will promote dialogue and the sharing of best practices to foster innovation in addressing water challenges.
  8. .We acknowledge that, globally, the ongoing measures to address water stress and pollution are not commensurate with the magnitude of the challenge. We commit to increase collaboration at all appropriate levels to advance research and capacity development to tackle water-related risks, particularly water stress.
  9. We appreciate the valuable work of the G20 Dialogue on Water, including the implementation of the Water Coordination Roadmap for G20 water-related activities and actions, the best practices compiled on the topic of managing water, sanitation, and hygiene to combat water-related diseases and pandemics, in the face of COVID-19, and the Best Practices Roadmap for a digital platform of countries' best practices and experiences related to sustainable and resilient water management. We encourage considering the continuation of this work, on a voluntary and non-binding basis and within the mandate of the G20, under future presidencies.

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IX. Conclusion

  1. We, the G20 Agriculture and Water Ministers, acknowledge the importance of intensifying our efforts towards food security and nutrition and towards sustainable and resilient water management including through the exchange of best practices, at all appropriate levels and strengthening our cooperation with relevant stakeholders to achieve common goals. In this context, we look forward to the organization of the 2021 UN Food Systems Summit and the 2023 UN Conference on the Midterm Comprehensive Review of the Implementation of the Objectives of the International Decade for Action, "Water for Sustainable Development", 2018-2028'. We express our deep gratitude to Japan for its efforts on the G20 Presidency in 2019. We express our deep appreciation to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for its resourceful and determined leadership of the G20 in the face of the devastating global impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. We look forward to the work of the Italian G20 Presidency in 2021.

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Source: Official website of the Saudi G20 Presidency


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