PM’s remarks at the Food Security Summit: 20 November 2023

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak's remarks at the Food Security Summit

Welcome to the Global Food Security Summit.  

I’d like to start by thanking our summit partners – Somalia, the UAE, the Children’s Investment Fund Foundation and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation…  

And I also want to thank my friend Andrew Mitchell for his incredible work on the International Development White Paper – which we’re proud to be launching today.  

 hank you all for your participation and support today. 

We live in a dangerous world – a time of growing threats, strategic competition and conflict.  

Many of these challenges, like the war in Ukraine, have a direct impact on the poorest around in world.  

Others threaten to draw attention away from their plight, putting at risk the vital progress made over recent years. 

With this White Paper, we’re answering those challenges… 

…changing our approach to deliver in a changing world. 

Because we know that you don’t lead merely with strength – but with compassion.  

So we’re going further to help the poorest and support those suffering in humanitarian crises. 

 We’re not just applying our aid budget to deliver results on the ground, but also Britain’s expertise in development and our leadership in science, technology and innovation. 

And we’ll do all of this not by acting alone or seeking to dictate the way forward… 

…but through building even deeper partnerships around the world, based on mutual respect.  

It’s only by working together that we will get the Sustainable Development Goals back on track.  

And that starts with redoubling our efforts to deliver the goal on “zero hunger”. 

It can’t be right that today in 2023, almost one billion people across the world regularly do not have enough to eat… 

…that millions face hunger and starvation… 

…and over 45 million children under five are suffering acute malnutrition. 

In a world of abundance, no one should die from lack of food.  

And no parent should ever have to watch their child starve. 

I’m proud of everything the UK is doing to provide immediate relief. 

We’re one of the top 4 donors to UN crisis response.   

We’ve doubled our aid for Palestinian civilians – with an additional £30 million. 

We’re clear that Israel has the right to defend itself… 

…it has been attacked in the most brutal manner possible by an enemy that hides itself in hospitals.

It must act within international humanitarian law. The situation on the ground is truly tragic and getting worse.  

We’re pressing hard for unhindered humanitarian access in Gaza… and for urgent and substantive humanitarian pauses to get in food, fuel and medicine…  

…because the suffering of innocent civilians must end.  

We’re also leading the way in helping Ukraine get its grain out through the Black Sea and into the hands of those in need.  

But because the scale of the global hunger crisis is so staggering, today we’re going further… 

…providing up to £100 million now for those worst hit, particularly across East Africa, the Sahel, and Afghanistan… 

…and in countries like Malawi which are reeling from climate-related cyclones and drought. 

Yet, as everyone here knows, simply responding in the wake of crisis is not enough. 

Climate change, conflict and population rise mean ever greater challenges to food supplies.  

So we need a fundamental shift in the way we approach food security… 

…with a focus on long-term solutions to stop food crises before they start. 

And we need to harness the full power of science and technology to ensure supplies are resilient to threats like conflict, drought and floods. 

That’s why the UK is working to deliver lasting solutions.  

 And we’re doing so in four important ways.   

First, by preventing the worst forms of child malnutrition. 

We played a leading role in the design of the Child Nutrition Fund, which supports vital supplies of life-saving food.  

And today I’m pleased to announce we’re building on that with a further £16 million… 

… and helping to bring in more funding, including from our fantastic philanthropic partners. 

Second, we’re using technology to anticipate and prevent food security crises. 

Together with our partners, we’re applying AI to model the impact of climate change on agriculture, so that we can find ways to avoid future crises.  

And we know just how effective this can be.  

Our work with the Government of Somalia helped them avert famine last year.  

And today, I’m pleased to announce that will we help Somalia avoid future crises with up to £100 million of future support… 

…enabling thousands of communities manage water supplies, adapt their farming, and increase their resilience to droughts, floods and other climate shocks.   

Third, we’re supporting developing countries to build more sustainable and resilient food systems.  

We helped set up the Global Agriculture and Food Security Program to crowd-in public and private sector finance. 

And now we’re driving reform of development banks, stretching their balance sheets even further to unlock more resources for food security… 

… and that includes UK guarantees which are releasing $6 billion of the Banks’ resources for development in countries in Africa, Asia and the Pacific.   

Finally, we’re applying our leadership in science to this crisis. 

As the country that over the last few years has led the development of the world’s first and second malaria vaccines… 

…we’re also driving scientific advances in food security which benefit millions globally… 

…as well as supporting our brilliant farmers here at home.  

We’ve already helped develop crops that are drought-resistant and even richer in vitamins… 

…now feeding 100 million people across Africa.  

And we’re going further… launching a new UK CGIAR Science Centre to drive cutting-edge research on flood tolerant rice, disease resistant wheat and much more.  

These innovations will reach millions across the poorest countries… 

… as well as improving UK crop yields and driving down food prices.  

In conclusion, this is the difference that Britain makes – using all our expertise and tools at our disposal – helping people now and for the long term.  

But we cannot do this alone. 

That’s what this summit is all about. And it’s why our approach is all about partnership. 

With your help, we can get the Sustainable Development Goals back on track…  

…deliver a world of zero hunger…  

…and transform millions of lives for years to come.  

Thank you – have a great summit.

Prime Minister's Office, 10 Downing Street
The Rt Hon Rishi Sunak MP