Saudi Arabia took important steps to enhance food security, says minister

May 19, 2022
Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Eng. Waleed Elkhereiji speaks during the Global Food Security Ministerial Meeting at the United Nations.
Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Eng. Waleed Elkhereiji speaks during the Global Food Security Ministerial Meeting at the United Nations.

NEW YORK — Saudi Arabia has stressed that it made important steps to enhance food security and prepared strategies aiming at facing climate change challenges and scarcity of water resources. These efforts have contributed to improving food security indicators in the Kingdom, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Eng. Waleed Elkhereiji said during the Global Food Security Ministerial Meeting at the United Nations.

In his speech delivered on behalf of Prince Faisal bin Farhan, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, at the meeting called by the United States, Elkhereiji said: "The challenges the international community is facing today require enhancing multilateral cooperation, especially that food insecurity crisis has proven that the way toward sustainable recovery relies on the cooperation of all."

The deputy minister noted that there are several challenges and risks posing a real threat to completing the development process and the global food security.

These challenges include global health challenges related to the spread of epidemics, he said, adding that the outbreak of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has revealed the weak level of the international system in combating a virus that cannot be seen with the bare eye. The pandemic led to turmoil that affected societies and economies and had devastating repercussions on the lives of people and economic indicators whose trends reversed from uptrends to downtrends, he said.

He also said that it negatively affected the development gains that were achieved and caused shortages in the global food supplies and led to big increases in the level of food insecurity, mainly in underprivileged countries.

"Saudi Arabia, which stresses the right of mankind to decent living under a sustainable and comprehensive health environment that provides all tools of comfort, has made great efforts in leading global response to this pandemic that coincided with the Kingdom’s presidency of the G20. My country supported global efforts in facing this pandemic with $500 million, in addition to offering $300 million to help individual countries’ efforts to combat the disease. It exerted big humanitarian efforts in supporting the neediest countries of the world in facing the negative impacts of the pandemic," Elkhereiji said.

He also mentioned that challenges are also related to the environment and climate change, where Saudi Arabia attaches great importance to protect planet Earth and biodiversity and preserve healthy ecosystems that are considered a main ingredient for maintaining food security.

The deputy minister pointed out that the ambitious Saudi Vision 2030 has focused its sustainable development goals on building a sustainable agricultural sector, enhancing sectors that support food systems, developing systems and improving agricultural productivity, and boosting the abilities of research and innovation to ensure a sustainable progress for food security.

He said the challenges are also concerned with security and armed conflicts, which are considered among the most dangerous challenges for their direct threat to the development process and global food security.

Elkhereiji reiterated that the Kingdom’s foreign policy places great attention to instilling security and stability, supporting dialogue and peaceful solutions, and providing circumstances supporting development and realizing the aspirations of people in receiving a better future, whether in the Middle East or beyond, which can be seen in the peace efforts exerted by the Kingdom to this end.

He stressed that Saudi Arabia has concerns for development issues and humanitarian efforts to support developing countries. He pointed out the Kingdom’s pioneering humanitarian role and its responsibility toward the international community.

Saudi Arabia is the biggest donor country in terms of humanitarian and development assistance at the Arab and Islamic levels and among the biggest three donor countries at the international level.

Concluding his speech, the deputy minister referred to Saudi Arabia’s affirmation on the importance of enhancing multilateral values and international cooperation that are stipulated in the UN covenant to realize the Sustainable Development Goals and overcoming increasing international challenges to build a more comprehensive and fairer world and enhance the welfare of peoples. — SG

May 19, 2022
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