On November 15, 2023, British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak announced a new science initiative to tackle global food security during a press conference in London. The initiative will focus on developing climate-resilient crops and will be introduced at a Global Food Security Summit being hosted by the UK government.
The summit is a joint effort between Britain, Somalia, the UAE, the Children’s Investment Fund Foundation, and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. It is expected to attract representatives from over 20 countries. Sunak highlighted the need for addressing the underlying causes of global food insecurity, citing Russia’s war in Ukraine and major natural disasters as significant factors affecting food production.
The new science initiative will be led by CGIAR, a global research partnership focused on food security. It aims to connect UK scientists with research initiatives aimed at developing crops that can withstand the effects of climate change and are more disease resistant. Additionally, the UK government plans to publish a new international development policy document or White Paper detailing its plans to work with partner countries to combat extreme poverty and climate change instead of solely providing aid money.
The priorities outlined in the policy document include mobilizing international finance and leveraging innovation. Furthermore, Britain will offer humanitarian funding of up to £100 million ($125 million) to countries most affected by food insecurity and climate-related disasters such as cyclones and droughts.
These upcoming initiatives reflect the UK’s commitment to addressing global food security through scientific research, international partnerships, and financial aid.