The German Institute for International and Security Affairs (SWP) advises the German government and parliament on questions of foreign and security policy. We are one of Europe’s largest foreign policy think-tanks, conducting independent, practice-driven research. We also advise decision-makers in relevant international organisations such as the European Union, NATO and the United Nations.
Sustainable and Resilient Agricultural Value Chains: Addressing Multiple Vulnerabilities With a New Partnership Approach
The ongoing compound and acute crises of Covid-19 and the war in Ukraine meet longer-term but no-less pressing crises of social and environmental sustainability in and around agriculture, food and nutrition security. At the same time, they irritate existing frames on (and perceptions of) how to address trade and sustainability. External shocks must be increasingly considered when addressing food security, following the FAO’s observation that conflicts and migration have developed into major reasons for food insecurity and hunger.
Additionally, climate change, biodiversity loss and human rights are generally most challenging and partially conflicting for many developing countries. They have to address them by aiming at increased and more nutritious food production, job creation, poverty alleviation and resilience to shocks of a still strongly growing and urbanising population.
Many international mechanisms are already in place on agriculture and food systems which are almost unavoidably not (yet) sufficiently coordinated. A new generation of due diligence laws recently is added mostly by industrialised countries to that existing mix of policies in place addressing serious sustainability gaps of supply chains into these countries. However, these regulations also bear the risk of generating unintended negative consequences, particularly for smallholder farmers in poor countries.
Against this background, we conclude for proposals at different degree of specificity:
- Reacting to geopolitical risks: Immediate and long-term measures to safeguard food security in light of Russia’s War on Ukraine,
- Balancing and integrating food security and sustainability,
- Initiating a joint observatory on new due diligence measures, and
- Starting a process to improve harmonised global governance for agriculture and food systems.
The G7 and Multilateralism in Times of Aggression: Maintaining and Strengthening Cooperative and Inclusive Approaches for the Global Common Good
President Putin’s aggression against Ukraine is, in the first place, a disaster for the people of Ukraine. At the same time, it is an attack on peace and security, international law, and a cooperative world order. Russia’s war in many ways also jeopardizes the efforts to maintain and strengthen other global public goods and to address humanity’s common and collective challenges, which have been growing over the past years with a steep rise during the ongoing pandemic. It will also affect international forums that are needed to facilitate cooperative action. Other concerns and the concerns of others are in danger of being massively overshadowed – to the detriment of global solidarity in times of aggression. Preventing this is
a core task of the G7 in 2022. The G7 under the German Presidency should position itself in a way that responds to Russia’s aggression without throwing its medium- and long-term priority agenda overboard as the addressed challenges remain equally pressing. While the summit and the ministers’ meetings will very likely show a strong focus on the response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the G7 should overall stick to the five priority areas rolled out by the German Presidency – sustainable planet, economic stability and transformation, healthy lives, investment in a better future and stronger together. It should at the same time supplement, adapt, and link them to the evolving situation and necessities, including by supporting measures that address the negative economic and social impacts of the war and the sanctions on third countries. When implementing its policy initiatives, we recommend that the G7 takes an extra effort and invests its political and economic clout in intensified international cooperation for the global common good. The G7 should do so by linking up its activities with other partners, by bolstering inclusive global governance institutions, and through tethering plurilateral and multi-stakeholder formats to a strengthened United Nations and other multilateral organisations.