Political leaders from Group of 20 (G20) countries should play key roles in tackling world hunger and climate change, said the head of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) on Friday.
Addressing participants at the G20 parliamentary summit, FAO Director-General Qu Dongyu said the FAO is eager to support efforts to combat hunger and malnutrition, calling for "deeper cooperation" between countries and multilateral groups like the FAO.
"This meeting is possibly one of the most critical gatherings held under the Italian G20 Presidency," said Qu, a former Chinese vice-minister of agriculture and rural affairs. "It brings together the officials that can develop policies and legal instruments to address the pressing challenges that we face together, globally."
He said that the FAO recognizes that Parliamentarians are "strategic partners as they provide the legal frameworks, approve public budget allocations, and ensure government accountability on international commitments."
During the Italian presidency of the G20, which will end this year, member countries -- which include the world's largest economies -- have renewed and strengthened their political commitment to global food security and improved nutrition.
While speaking at the G20 Business 20 (B20) gathering on Friday, Qu called for transformed and more inclusive agri-food systems to survive economic downturns like the one sparked by the coronavirus pandemic.
"The most destructive effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on food security and nutrition were due to the unprecedented scale of economic downturns," Qu said, warning that an "uneven pace of recovery" represented further risks to countries.