President Michael D Higgins has called on the global North to “face up” to the impact of wasteful practices and make a commitment to end hunger in Africa.
Higgins made the remarks today in Senegal at the opening address of the second Dakar Summit, the International Conference on Agriculture.
He said that with the support of a “caring and non-exploitative global civilisation”, this century could be “Africa’s century”, and one that is “free of hunger”, of the “responsibility we share for our vulnerable planet”. with the acceptance and fundamental dignity of all who live on it”.
Mr Higgins argued that in the global north, a quarter of the food produced is wasted, while in developing countries, “a similar proportion is lost during storage and transport”.
“We must face some difficult questions. Do we have the balance right globally between feeding people and feeding animals to feed people? What about the balance between?
President Higgins acknowledged that the effects of climate change and the war in Ukraine are putting further pressure on food security, however, he added: “We are all challenged to make the most of the shadow we live under today.” Don’t allow good hopes to defeat you.”
He appealed for a new departure in Africa that deals with “African realities”, which he argued would provide security that “absolute dependence” on the international food value chain “could never offer”.
At the “top of the agenda”, she called for a “positive role” for women land-holders, calling for “full participation in decisions regarding food production, distribution and nutrition”.
“Those who contributed least to climate change are bearing the heaviest burden of its consequences. Nine of the 10 most climate-sensitive countries in the world are in sub-Saharan Africa. As far as emissions are concerned, Of the 20 countries most affected by climate change, their contribution to global emissions is only 0.55 per cent.
President Higgins recalled how he witnessed “scenes of horrific, preventable famine and severe malnutrition” in Somalia in 1992, and said the global community had “an end to regional and global famines”, implying the words “never again”. The ability to anticipate and prevent.
He argued that basic structural issues affecting food insecurity have not been addressed, citing the fact that despite having two-thirds of the remaining arable land, Africa is still “underfed at a cost of $75 billion annually”. imports 100 million tons of food”.
“Yet Africa has the potential to be self-sufficient in food production and contribute to feeding the world,” he added.
At the UN Nutrition for Growth Summit last year, Ireland committed more than €800 million to support nutrition over the next five years. At the United Nations last September, Ireland made additional commitments with USAID and UNICEF to address the alarming levels of acute child malnutrition, with a special focus on the Horn of Africa.
President Higgins described the humanitarian response as “urgent, necessary”, but “not sufficient”.
He said that increasing food production in a manner appropriate to the growing world population must be done urgently and sustainably, as land loss continues due to “environmental degradation and the dire attendant loss of biodiversity due to climate change”.
President Higgins said that half of global grain production would be affected by water scarcity and called for investment in land restoration and environmentally sustainable agricultural practices.
Meanwhile, Mr Higgins, quoting Senegalese poet and cultural theorist Leopold Senghor, said: “Africa is not an idea, it is a knot of realities. They are realities that can be shaped so that we are not only Africans but to achieve a sustainable and inclusive model of living together for all of humanity.