More money needed to push food security efforts – Pres. Ali


President Dr. Irfaan Ali has made another fervent appeal for adequate climate financing, underscoring that vulnerable countries like Guyana need more money to fight the climate crisis and meet their food needs.

Because food production is impacted by the changing environment- be it through harsher weather events or natural disasters like flooding and droughts, the Guyanese Head of State explained that food security is inextricably linked to the climate crisis.

Exacerbating this situation, he told fellow world leaders, is that small island developing states (SIDS) and low-lying countries like Guyana do not have enough finances to mitigate the fallout from the climate crisis that they are worse-affected by.

As such, he reasoned that they are doubly disadvantaged.

“… SIDS and low lying coastal states require substantial injection of resources to pursue climate adaptation.

“Without this, food security will remain imperilled,” the President lamented.

It is not only that these countries require finances to bolster their food systems in an attempt to withstand harsh climatic events and changes, though.

The Guyanese leader said that these developing countries also need to transition production higher up the value chain, moving from the production, use and export of raw materials and embracing more processing and manufacturing.

This effort, like the climate adaptation focus, requires substantial resources and investments.

Guyana is currently leading the Caribbean Community (CARICOM)’s ambitious food security agenda wherein the bloc hopes to slash its over US$5 billion annual food import bill by 25 per cent by 2025.

To achieve this, expanded food production within the Caribbean is crucial.

Though countries in the 15-member bloc have agreed to grow more food, their vulnerabilities to the harsh effects of climate change have been well-ventilated.

These countries have also been badly affected by the economic challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic and the ongoing Ukraine/ Russia crisis, President Ali said.

As such, he advocated for a fairer system of disbursing much-needed funds. For him, that means more grants and concessional financing as opposed to loans that see countries incurring greater debt.

“Given the scale of climate financing needs and current trends, it is anticipated that large-scale needs will continue to be raised through debts and not grants,” he lamented however.

That said, he hopes fellow world leaders and other stakeholders will recognise the dire concerns of these smaller countries and act meaningfully.

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