Matera Declaration on Food Security, Nutrition and Food Systems. A Call to Action in the time of the COVID–19 pandemic and beyond

Matera Declaration on Food Security, Nutrition and Food Systems. A Call to Action in the time of the COVID–19 pandemic and beyond


1. We, the G20 Foreign Affairs and Development Ministers, UN agencies and other partners convened here in Matera to contribute to strengthening international efforts to contain the effects of the pandemic on lives and livelihoods and to build forward better. We express deep concern for the state of food insecurity across the world. The number of people affected by hunger globally has been on the rise since 2014. The world is not on track to achieve Zero Hunger by 2030 and end malnutrition in all its forms as aimed for in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the 2030 Agenda. With current trends, the number of people affected by hunger would exceed 840 million by 2030. These figures do not take into account the toll of the COVID-19 pandemic that is likely to add more than 100 million people to the total number of undernourished in the world, as people lost their jobs and income, with consequences on their food security. This exacerbated the multiple crises and structural obstacles especially in developing and least developed countries with worsening effects on all people, in particular on women everywhere.


2. We recognize that poverty alleviation, food security and sustainable food systems, are key to ending hunger, encouraging social cohesion and community development, reducing socio-economic inequalities both between and within countries, developing human capital, advancing gender equality and empowerment of youth, and promoting overall inclusive economic growth and sustainable development. Committed to contributing to the Decade of Action for the SDGs, we agree to deliver on food security priorities by enhancing efforts in ensuring safe and adequate nutrition for all, ending all forms of malnutrition, preserving agrobiodiversity, as well as relying on science, innovation, advanced business practices and responsible behavior complementing traditional knowledge, local food culture and best practices in order to achieve SDG targets. Advancing these goals requires collective and coordinated leadership and action at the global level and a people-centered approach. The G20 is well positioned to provide such leadership, while promoting an inclusive approach with all stakeholders, private and public, and pursuing ambitious yet concrete and actionable programs. New and innovative policies and responsible investments in agriculture, territorial development and sustainable and resilient food, soil, and water management systems, as well as acting ahead of shocks to mitigate their impact, including in conflict situations, are needed to increase resilience and prevent future crises.


3. We therefore call all relevant actors in our countries and beyond to implement the following urgently needed actions to recover from the crisis, including by stepping up North-South, South-South and Triangular cooperation, with the aim to reach a world free of hunger and malnutrition, realize the right to adequate food, alleviate poverty, and promote just, peaceful and inclusive societies. Building on previous G20 commitments related to food security and nutrition, we commit to work with developing countries to advance, through collective, multilateral and bilateral actions, the following priorities, in accordance with national policy priorities and objectives:


4. Implementing effective actions for the empowerment of women and youth in the rural-urban continuum. While women and youth have been at the forefront of the response to the pandemic, the world has also seen a loss of gender equality, education and decent work opportunities for women and youth, especially in rural areas and vulnerable situations. We therefore emphasize the need for policies, technical assistance, capacity building and investments that create new decent work and agri-entrepreneurship opportunities for women and youth and support their empowerment as active participants and leaders at all levels of food systems and institutions.


5. Enhancing social-protection measures and programs, with a focus on people living in vulnerable situations, of whom large shares depend on the agriculture and food sector for their livelihoods. This includes emergency food assistance and safety nets, cash and in-kind transfer programmes as appropriate, local procurement schemes and school feeding programmes as relevant, mother and child nutrition programmes, food banks, to the extent possible based on locally produced biodiverse food and local food culture, and other interventions focused on informal sector workers, with particular attention to effective action for gender equality, youth, persons with disabilities and people in vulnerable situations, which builds agency and empowerment. In this context, we welcome relevant efforts and initiatives by all stakeholders working on social protection, including technical and financial resources mobilization, as well as the work of WFP, together with other partners, towards the development of a global coalition for school feeding.


6. Increasing catalytic investments for food security, nutrition, and sustainable food systems and territorial development, as part of the substantial COVID-19 emergency funding and longer-term national recovery plans and packages, in a manner consistent with WTO obligations and taking into account the voluntary Committee on World Food Security (CFS) Principles for Responsible Investment in Agriculture and Food Systems. All relevant actors across the international financial architecture and financial ecosystem need to play a role, in line with respective mandates, in improving availability of and access to sustainable finance in the food and agriculture sector to effectively enable small scale and family farmers and fisherfolk, pastoralists, agro-enterprises, cooperatives and other operators within food value chains to invest more in sustainable food systems, particularly in developing and least developed countries. Public policies and resources such as procurement and public development banks’ funds can help to address market failures and provide greater risk tolerance than what other financial institutions can, thus also stimulating responsible private investment and blended finance to: improve food security and nutrition and efficiency in food value chains; increase smallholders’, family farmers’ and fisher folks’ productivity, capacity, managerial capital, accessibility to markets, incomes and resilience; support young entrepreneurs and decent work opportunities and conditions; as well as promote innovation in technologies and practices to promote sustainable food systems. In this regard, we welcome the establishment of a “Finance in Common” Working Group on Financing Sustainable Food Systems, led by IFAD, that gathers public development banks, and we recognize the critical role of the private sector to support public efforts to improve agri-food systems and emphasize the importance of accelerating digital transformation and innovation, with appropriate protection of intellectual property rights and data privacy consistent with national and international legal frameworks as well as the voluntary transfer of technologies on mutually agreed terms, in sustainable and resilient agriculture.


7. Accelerating the adaptation of agriculture and food systems to climate change, as increased climate variability and extreme weather events impact agriculture output and are among the forces driving the rise in global hunger, while recognizing the importance of sustainable agriculture. This includes, without limiting to, policies fostering territorial and gender sensitive adaptation, promoting more integrated farming systems, climate sensitive, agro-ecological and other innovative approaches as appropriate, supporting biodiversity as a source of climate resilience, fast-tracking the implementation of the agriculture and food-systems related parts of adaptation plans, as well as promoting effective funding from climate finance to foster climate adaptation in the food and agriculture sector of developing countries in the light of different national circumstances. This also requires better understanding and managing of climate risks, leveraging the power of the private sector and of local national and international agriculture research organisations and knowledge institutes, as well as focusing on sustainable management and use of natural resources that are essential to food systems.


8. Keeping international food trade open and strengthening global, regional and local diversified value chains for safe, fresh and nutritious food. It is crucial to maintain global food trade open, and to keep food markets functioning. We highlight the importance of an open, transparent, predictable and non-discriminatory multilateral trading system, consistent with World Trade Organization (WTO) rules, to enhance market predictability, and allow agri-food trade to flow so as to contribute to food security and nutrition. International trade is crucial to ensure access to inputs, goods and services to produce safe, nutritious and affordable food. We will continue to guard against any unjustified restrictive and distortive measures that could lead to excessive food price volatility in international markets and threaten the food security and nutrition of large proportions of the world population, especially the most vulnerable living in environments of low food security. Policies, research and investments should also focus on: protecting the interests of small and marginal farmers especially in developing countries; improving inter-regional logistics and distributional systems along with better linkages between rural and urban areas; strengthening local food economies resilience to external shocks; improving handling, storage, processing and preservation to enhance value chain efficiency and resilience, reduce post-harvest losses, food loss and waste and ensure food safety; and increasing availability, accessibility and affordability of nutritious foods.


9. Promoting a science-based holistic One Health approach, by integrating it into national policies and international action as part of our collaboration, so to improve public health outcomes with a multi-sectoral response to address food safety risks, risks from zoonoses, and other health risks at the human-animal-ecosystem interface, and to provide guidance on how to reduce these risks. In recognizing that the health of people and planet is inseparable, and in particular the various linkages between food systems and the health of humans, animals and the environment, and using a science and evidence based approach and identifying those factors that can be properly managed to optimize impact and manage risk, epidemics and other threats to food security can be mitigated. Such an approach supports interdisciplinary and cross-sectoral collaboration and strategies that contribute not only to preventing (zoonotic) disease and the emergence of Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) but also to sustainable development and global food security. In this context, we welcome the One Health High-Level Expert Panel, recently established by FAO, OIE, WHO and UNEP, which could provide guidance to design these strategies and assistance in implementing them.


10. We commit to strengthen our collective efforts to implement this call to a global mobilization, in coordination with the G20 Ministers of Agriculture and existing initiatives and leveraging international processes such as the upcoming Tokyo Nutrition for Growth Summit, COP26, WTO 12th Ministerial Conference and UN Biodiversity Conference in Kunming, and the UN Food System Summit that has the potential to improve the sustainability of food systems. We will explore a broad suite of existing mechanisms and funding channels to achieve the priorities of the Matera Declaration, including operational multilateral initiatives, such as the Global Agriculture and Food Security Program, the G20 Rural Youth Employment Initiative, and the Global Network against Food Crisis, and international cooperation, technical assistance and donor development assistance programs. We encourage partners and stakeholders to collaborate with or join the Food Coalition launched by FAO whose goal is to build a global alliance to trigger coordinated action in response to COVID-19, with a focus on the thematic priorities identified in this Matera Declaration around food security, nutrition and food systems, and to mobilize political, financial, policy and technical support based on needs and demands of developing countries, with a focus on smallholder farmers, women and youth. As a light and flexible collaboration mechanism, the Food Coalition should provide for its members leadership to raise awareness on food security, nutrition and sustainable food systems, and promote, on a voluntary basis, operational coordination of responses to country and regional needs and priorities: horizontally across thematic areas, and vertically from local to global, including among all relevant UN agencies and International Organisations; thus also facilitating innovative multi-actor and multi country initiatives such as to implement the One Health Approach and the voluntary CFS Guidelines and policy recommendations as appropriate.