The Grand Chancellor of the Order of Malta, Riccardo Paternò di Montecupo, spoke during the second day of the 2023 “Food Systems Summit” which is being held in Rome at the premises of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO).
The Grand Chancellor stressed “the extensive damages caused to food security in many countries, especially in Africa”, resulting from the tragic conflict currently under way in Ukraine and shared the “deep concern of so many countries about the disruption in supplies of basic cereals and of other essential foodstuffs.” For this reason, “the Order of Malta believes that a prompt resumption of the UN-sponsored agreement is urgently needed”.
In his speech, Riccardo Paternò di Montecupo recalled the many projects in which the Order of Malta is actively engaged in Africa, the Middle East and several Latin American countries. Many of these support local agriculture, tackle maternal and infant malnutrition and train agriculture professionals, as well as improving food resilience and the nutritional habits and standards of the lower-income populations.
Returning to the conflict in Ukraine, the Grand Chancellor stressed that the Order of Malta has assisted “tens of thousands of refugees, notably in Ukraine and in its neighbouring countries” and provided “immediate relief to the most disadvantaged groups in many countries, including advanced industrialized countries, through an extensive network of soup kitchens”.
The Grand Chancellor ended his speech at the FAO summit by reaffirming the Order of Malta’s desire to “actively work and partner with UN agencies and bodies, including FAO and World Food Programme, as well as with other international relief agencies and civil society organizations”.
The objective of the 2023 Food Systems Summit is the achievement of the 2030 ‘Zero Hunger’ agenda, setting down concrete actions and daily responsibilities.
Over 2,000 participants are expected from 161 countries during the three days of meetings in Rome from 24 to 26 July, including 22 Heads of State and Government. Present at the opening ceremony on 25 July were the Italian Prime Minister, Giorgia Meloni, and the UN Secretary General, António Guterres.
Photo-credit: @FAO/Cristiano Minichiello