3 Questions with Augustin Grandgeorge
Augustin Grandgeorge: First of all, food security - which means that all people have physical, economic and social access to sufficient, healthy food that meets their nutritional needs - is far from being achieved. In 2022, according to the FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization), 9.2% of the world's inhabitants were food insecure. This problem is particularly acute on the African continent - 22% of the population is food insecure - and is set to increase for two reasons: firstly, because of climate change, which is reducing harvests, and secondly, because of population growth - there will be 9.7 billion people on Earth in 2050, 2.5 billion of them in Africa. The challenge of the century will therefore be to produce more, while decarbonizing, increasing access to food and reducing agricultural and food losses.
AG: There are three main problems today. First, the African continent is too often seen as a source of problems rather than solutions when it comes to food security. And yet, this continent - with its highly varied climates, soils and crops - has a wealth of experience of farming in arid and tropical environments, as well as the potential to feed its growing population, if not more. Second, the climate and environmental protection agenda tends to clash with that of agricultural development and food security. Countries in Europe and North America are more attached to the climate issue, while countries in Africa, Latin America and South Asia seem to attach greater importance - quite understandably - to food insecurity. These divergences sometimes hinder progress, because in reality there will be no protection of the planet without food security, and vice versa. The problems are global, and we have common interests and responsibilities. Finally, there is a chronic lack of public and private investment in agricultural transformation, particularly on the African continent.
AG: The Forum is spearheading an initiative to bridge the climate and agricultural development agendas, and to strengthen dialogue between the South and the North on agricultural transformation issues for sustainable food security. This initiative seeks to bring together governments, international organizations, philanthropies, businesses and NGOs - the whole spectrum of stakeholders with whom the Forum usually works - to generate general mobilization on the subject, help unlock the great agricultural potential of the African continent, and ultimately create a dialogue platform that can issue recommendations aimed at reconciling productive and environmental agendas. This dialogue will start on the occasion of the 2023 Paris Peace Forum with a roundtable entitled “South-North Dialogue to help achieve SDG 2 and 13 in Africa: An Agricultural Revolution for Sustainable Food Security”.
About the interviewee:
Augustin Grandgeorge is Advisor to the Director of Political Initiatives at the Paris Peace Forum.
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