Food security to be a key priority this year for G-20, says Indonesian minister

SINGAPORE – Food security will be a key priority this year for the Group of 20 (G-20), amid concerns that more people around the world are at risk of going hungry due to global challenges.

Speaking at the Indonesia-Singapore Business Forum on Tuesday (June 14), Indonesia’s Minister for Foreign Affairs Retno Marsudi said food scarcity will be made worse because of the impact of Covid-19 and the ongoing war in Ukraine.

Indonesia assumed the one-year G-20 presidency last December, taking over from Italy.

Citing a report by World Food Programme, a humanitarian aid organisation, Ms Retno said 323 million people around the world could face severe food insecurity this year, twice the number it was before Covid-19 and the war in Ukraine.

“All countries must voice their concerns about the risk of global food scarcity, especially in developing countries. Indonesia will put forward this concern as one of the main issues in the upcoming G-20 meetings,” she added.

The minister was speaking virtually to more than 300 key dignitaries, academics and business leaders at the forum held at Hilton Singapore Orchard hotel.

Organised by the Indonesian Embassy in Singapore and the Indonesian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the event saw attendees participate in discussions on topics like healthcare, digital transformation and sustainability.

On the issue of global conflicts, Ms Retno said there must be a cessation to fighting for peace negotiations to succeed, adding that the impact of war can be addressed only then.

“Therefore, all of us bear responsibility to create conducive conditions to end the war, including Indonesia and Singapore,” she added.

Ms Retno said Indonesia is committed to ensure that the G-20 produces concrete deliverables in three areas: global healthcare architecture, digital transformation and energy transition.

She noted how Singapore and Indonesia are exploring joint ventures on the construction of health facilities, lining up projects in digital transformation amounting to billions of dollars, and collaborating to build several solar power plants.

“We appreciate Singapore’s support for Indonesia’s G-20 presidency and for our future economic ties,” she said.

The G-20 consists of the European Union and 19 countries with the biggest industrialised and emerging economies.

Singapore is not a G-20 member, but has been invited to participate in many past G-20 summits and related meetings.

Indonesian President Joko Widodo had earlier this year invited Singapore to attend the G-20 summit in Bali in November.