Written by Antonio Albaladejo Román.
At this year’s G7 summit in Japan, the leaders of France, the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, Japan, Italy, Canada, and the European Union, expressed their determination to uphold an international order based on the rule of law and the UN Charter, under serious threat due to the Russian invasion of Ukraine. As part of this strategy, the G7 nations committed to engage with partner countries worldwide to preserve international norms by addressing shared challenges, not least the current food crisis, recognised as posing the ‘highest risk of famine in a generation’.
For over a year, many countries, particularly in Africa and Asia, have been subject to an intense Russian diplomatic and disinformation campaign aimed at shifting the responsibility for the current food crisis, away from Moscow’s destabilising actions – such as the months-long Black Sea blockade – and blaming it on the international sanctions imposed on the Kremlin after its unprovoked invasion of Ukraine.
To counter Russia’s strategy, and to strengthen present and future global food security, the G7 and invited nations (Australia, India, Brazil, Indonesia, the Republic of Korea, Vietnam, Comoros and the Cook Islands) committed to a series of joint actions outlined in the Hiroshima Action Statement for Resilient Global Food Security, calling on other international partners to join these efforts.
The six-page document envisages three lines of action, aimed at addressing the immediate food security challenge, preparing for and preventing future food crises, and setting the building blocks of a resilient food system guaranteeing fair nutrition for all.
Responding to the most immediate challenge of the ongoing food crisis, the G7 nations commit to better donor coordination and a substantial increase in humanitarian and development assistance to food-stressed countries. The action statement highlights the importance of expanding and extending the Black Sea Grain Initiative, continuing the EU Solidarity Lanes, and restoring Ukraine’s agricultural sector. The G7 also commits to achieving greater transparency in international markets, given their influence on food prices and availability.
Beyond the current disruption, the G7 strategy outlines ways to prepare for and prevent future food security crises. On top of supply shortages caused by weather shocks and armed conflict, the skyrocketing prices for agricultural commodities owes much to unilateral trade restrictions to protect national markets, especially of fertilisers. Therefore, transparency and enforcing World Trade Organization rules is deemed crucial to ensuring food security. Increased data collection and monitoring, as well as support for the adoption of preparedness strategies by food-stressed countries is also considered to prevent future crises.
Ultimately, the G7 leaders recognise that ensuring food security for all depends on the resilience and adaptability of global food systems to changing weather and shrinking biodiversity. The G7 strategy devotes substantial attention to these challenges, outlining many initiatives enshrined in the European Union by the Green Deal, and the biodiversity and farm to fork strategies. Strengthening local production, ensuring affordable access to fertilisers or developing agricultural innovative technologies and making them accessible to less developed countries are some of the initiatives outlined to that end in the Hiroshima Action Statement.
In its attempt to undermine the post-World War II international consensus, Russia has resorted to the threat of nuclear war, and has deliberately aggravated a global food security crisis. In the highly symbolic city of Hiroshima, the G7 group of nations pushed back at Moscow’s challenge to the rules-based order, by showing that it is willing and able to engage the wider international community to ensure food security for all, while preserving the international rules that can make it possible.