World Animal Protection Press Statement on New Focus on African Food Systems at G7 Summit

World Animal Protection welcomes the G7 Summit Presidency’s announcement to prioritize food security and sustainable food systems in Africa through the Puglia Food Systems Initiative. This laudable step represents an opportunity to extend support to smallholder farmers, who form the backbone of agriculture across the continent.

This initiative aligns with the UAE Declaration on Sustainable Agriculture, Resilient Food Systems and Climate Action signed by 159 countries at COP28, demonstrating a strong commitment to addressing the link between food and climate. We are encouraged that policymakers are increasingly recognizing the need to transform food systems to effectively combat climate change during this critical decade. As temperatures rise and ecosystems deteriorate, animals and humans face increasingly dire consequences.

Smallholder farmers and their communities are on the front lines of food production and are deeply affected by the impacts of climate change, which exacerbates food insecurity. Therefore, while celebrating this positive development, it is imperative that the Puglia Initiative is implemented with inclusion and accountability in mind. Previous initiatives with similar intentions have failed, often leaving those they were intended to help without tangible benefits. It is essential that smallholder farmers are at the heart of this initiative to ensure that it effectively addresses their needs and challenges.

It is crucial that this initiative improves food security and livelihoods in Africa. It is vital to support Africa’s agroecological practices and protect its diverse ecosystems from further degradation. Agriculture should not adopt industrialized models that could worsen health and environmental problems. Instead, sustainable practices must be prioritized to ensure long-term development and ecological balance.

As G7 leaders meet in Italy this week, we call for urgent action to build a fair, humane and sustainable food system:

THE Director for Africa, Tennyson Williams while commenting on this new development, he said:

“Africa’s food crises must be addressed alongside the urgent challenges of climate change and biodiversity loss. These interconnected issues require a coherent strategy that prioritizes sustainable agricultural practices and the preservation of natural ecosystems. By integrating climate resilience, animal welfare and biodiversity conservation into food security initiatives, we can create a food system that not only feeds people, but also protects the environment for future generations.

It is essential to adopt a holistic approach that supports agroecological methods, enhances ecosystem services and mitigates the impacts of climate change, thereby ensuring a thriving and resilient food system for Africa and the world.

Echoing these sentiments, the Global Director of External Engagement, Kelly Dent added,

“The G7 must demonstrate the political will to tackle food system transformation and climate change, particularly in the run-up to COP30 in Brazil, a country where the footprint of factory farming has caused damage massive. It is imperative that the G7 sets an example by getting involved. to sustainable and equitable food systems, demonstrating global leadership in addressing these critical issues.

The Puglia initiative in Africa must therefore prioritize the transformation of livestock production in order to reduce industrialization and the use of antimicrobials, achieve a more sustainable and equitable food system, increase the access to diverse, nutrient-rich diets and strengthen food justice and resilience for smallholder farmers.

In conclusion, the Puglia Initiative has the potential to have a significant impact on food security and sustainable agriculture in Africa. By ensuring it is inclusive, transparent and accountable, we can build a future that is climate resilient, food secure and sustainable.

World Animal Protection stands ready to support this initiative and work collaboratively with the G7 Summit, African governments, African civil society organizations and other stakeholders to achieve these shared goals.

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