President Ali proposes new global food system to combat hunger
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President Dr. Irfaan Ali during his address at the Voice of Global South Summit in India on Thursday (Office of the President photo)
President Dr. Irfaan Ali during his address at the Voice of Global South Summit in India on Thursday (Office of the President photo)

PRESIDENT Dr. Mohamed Irfaan Ali, in his address at the Voice of Global South Summit in India, on Thursday proposed a new global food initiative that incorporates a tax and financial system to directly combat hunger.

President Ali acknowledged India’s strengths in technology, research and development, agro-processing, and human and technical capacity, and called for the formation of a team of experts to assist in food production in low-lying and small-island developing states.

According to him, sustainable development is unachievable without food security, and therefore, the global south must act collectively to guarantee its full security.

“It can do so by dismantling artificial and unwarranted barriers to trade in agricultural commodities, attracting great investments in food production, and promoting the wider dissemination of agricultural technologies, especially climate-smart technologies,” he said.

With these possibilities, Dr. Ali backed India as the country that can lead much-needed ventures, and herald in the desired results for developing countries across the global south.

“I suggest India because, in our honest reflection, it is clear that the multilateral organisations have not brought the required results in addressing hunger.

“Today, Latin America and the Caribbean have the top position as the most food-insecure region in the world. We must arrest the situation now,” the President stated.

Beyond food security efforts, the Guyanese Head of State highlighted that India has demonstrated that it has the ability to respond to global challenges and global needs whenever the occasion arises.

Within this context, President Ali commended the South Asian State on hosting the special virtual summit, noting that it is a demonstration of its noble intention of becoming a voice for the South.

“India’s presidency of the G20 and its proclaimed commitment of being the advocate of the South offers hope that within the global governance architecture, the concerns of the South will enjoy greater traction,” he pointed out.

The President also highlighted the threats of physical extinction facing small islands and low-lying coastal states due to climate change, energy and food crises, the global pandemic, and interstate conflicts. As such, he emphasised the need for increased, improved, and fast access to concessional financing for climate adaptation to ensure greater resilience against the adverse effects of climate change.

President Ali also expressed support for India’s proposal to the United Nations to designate 2023 as the Year of Millets, small, round whole grains grown in India, and congratulated India on the recognition. He also recommended that the Voice of Global South Summit, convened by the Prime Minister of India, be part of an ongoing conversation involving not only the countries of the south but also organisations such as the Commonwealth, the Non-Aligned Movement, the Organisation of African Caribbean and Pacific States, and the Group of 77 and China.

He also assured India of Guyana’s unwavering support in the areas of food security, energy security, climate security, human dignity and prosperity.

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