Administrator Samantha Power and Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack at the United Nations Food Systems Summit

Speeches Shim

Thursday, September 23, 2021


Administrator Samantha Power and Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack at the United Nations Food Systems Summit

SECRETARY VILSACK: Thank you Secretary General Guterres, Deputy Secretary Mohammed, and UN Special Envoy Dr. Kalibata for your leadership in bringing us together to focus on urgent solutions to improve the systems that impact hunger, poverty, and malnutrition.

The convergence of the COVID-19 pandemic and climate change have reversed decades of gains made previously and underscore the need to not only end the pandemic, but to invest in more resilient food systems at home and abroad

Here in the United States, we hosted “national dialogues” where we met with hundreds of people from farmers to food industry representatives to environmental and nutrition advocates, to discuss pathways for ensuring food security and healthy diets for all.

During these national dialogues, participants identified three priorities for food systems transformation: food security and nutrition for all; climate change mitigation and adaptation; and the creation of inclusive and equitable food systems that address the needs of our most vulnerable.

The United States, with bipartisan support, will invest $10 billion over the next five years to address these priorities—including with historic investments to build back better in the face of the climate crisis and economic disruptions from COVID-19. Of the $10 billion, domestically, we are investing at least $5 billion in strengthening the inclusivity and resilience of our food systems with investments in infrastructure, fair and competitive markets, and climate smart agriculture and forestry in the United States. We are tackling nutrition insecurity with policies and programs encouraging healthy diets for all.

We must use the power of ingenuity to improve on food systems so they provide safe, nutritious, affordable, and accessible food for all, while conserving natural resources, and combating the climate crisis.

The United States and United Arab Emirates are spearheading a global initiative – the Agriculture Innovation Mission for Climate – with a goal of dramatically increasing public and private investment in climate-smart agriculture and food systems innovation. I am proud to report that the number of countries supporting the initiative has more than tripled since the President previewed it at the Leaders’ Summit on Climate earlier this year.

We are also excited to launch a new coalition on Sustainable Productivity Growth for Food Security and Resource Conservation to motivate collective action to accelerate sustainable agricultural productivity growth that benefits farmers, consumers, and the planet. I invite all of you to join us.

We look forward to working with so many of you through the global coalition called “School Meals Nutrition, Health and Education for Every Child,” to ensure that every child has access to nutritious meals in school by 2030. Likewise, we look forward to partnering on the “Food is Never Waste” coalition to reduce food loss and waste, a critical contribution to addressing climate change.

And now I’m pleased to recognize Ambassador Power, Administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development, to discuss our global commitments.

ADMINISTRATOR POWER: Thank you, Secretary Vilsack. Of the $10 billion President Biden committed on Tuesday for food security, half will be invested here at home—a recognition that all countries, even those that produce a surplus of food, must take steps to improve nutrition and adapt their food systems to a changing climate.

The other half of that $10 billion will be spent fighting global food insecurity, helping smallholder farmers and their families escape poverty—a recognition, as President Kennedy once said, that the well fed have an obligation to care for the hunger of others.

With congressional support, we’ll invest this money through Feed the Future, America’s global hunger and food security initiative, expanding its reach to additional countries.

And we’re going to revise our Global Food Security Strategy, to make sure that money does more good in the world. That we focus more on inclusive agricultural growth that lifts up women, girls, and marginalized communities. That we invest tens-of-millions of dollars in fortifying foods with critical vitamins and minerals to fight malnutrition. And that we double-down on climate-smart investments, like drought-tolerant seeds and carbon storage in soils, so the world can boost crop yields while cutting emissions.

With new investments and a new strategy, Feed the Future aims to contribute to a 20 percent reduction in poverty and stunting in target countries over the next five years.

But the United States cannot end hunger on its own—no country can. We need the support of foundations and food scientists, donors and development agencies, private companies and partner countries, to not just feed the future, but build a future where hunger is a distant memory.

Thank you.

Last updated: July 05, 2022

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