On May 14, 2013 the seminar "Food Security through Social Safety Nets and Risk Management" co-hosted by Russia and the World Bank was held in Moscow as part of the G20 Development Working Group Meeting. During Russia's G20 Presidency Development Agenda has been recognized as one of the key priorities and a particular emphasis is being made on food security. A seminar on the concrete measures and initiatives on food security safety nets was convened to foster progress in this field.
The seminar brought together the representatives of the G20 member-countries, international organizations and other stakeholders, working on the issue of food security, such as the World Bank, the World Food Program, the Food and Agriculture Organization, the International Fund for Agricultural Development, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the International Labor Organization, the Social and Industrial Foodservice Institute, and the Eurasian Center for Food Security.
The participants discussed a broad range of measures on tackling food security challenges, namely, through implementation of nutrition-sensitive social protection and safety nets programs, as well as through sustainable agricultural productivity growth and technology development, information sharing and knowledge transfer.
Speaking more broadly, the necessity of international cooperation and integrated approach towards food security issues was particularly emphasized. Such an integrated approach must include implementation of safety nets programs in a broader context of the social protection systems, addressing both food security and nutrition security, expanding school feeding programs to small children, etc.
Presentations delivered at the seminar suggested that social protection systems and safety nets could play a vital role in building communities' resilience in addressing shocks, reducing vulnerability and social exclusion. Participants shared their experiences and discussed best practices of the G20 countries and international organizations in implementing policies, as well as the existing initiatives in the sphere of social protection. It was further noted that both action-building medium-term resilience and short-term food emergencies measures are needed.
It was also emphasized that success, coverage and cost effectiveness of food safety nets critically depend on adequate availability of food. The balance between food demand and supply is very delicate and requires a stable increase in food production.
The seminar also highlighted comparative advantages of the G20 in enhancing relevant knowledge-sharing networks, providing political support and undertaking collective action in these areas.