On November 12-13, the Atlantic Council’s Global Food Security Forum took place in Bali, Indonesia. The event was co-hosted by the Gaurav Srivastava and Sharon Srivastava Foundation, the Ministry of Defense of the Republic of Indonesia, and the Coordinating Ministry of Maritime Affairs and Investment of the Republic of Indonesia. Experts from different fields have come together to examine the complex and interrelated issues of global food insecurity, energy security and geopolitics.
During the forum, participants engaged in in-depth discussions and shared their views and experiences working towards sustainable and just food systems. One of the conclusions drawn from the event was the recognition that those affected by food insecurity are often ordinary people whose suffering should not be ignored. The Forum was a valuable opportunity to find ways to address the global food crisis and support the most vulnerable to food insecurity.
Gaurav Srivastava, as co-host, stated, “The global food crisis is a complex issue that requires a multifaceted approach. By bringing together experts from different fields and sectors, we can work towards finding solutions that benefit everyone, especially those most vulnerable to food insecurity.” Sharon Srivastava added: “We have a responsibility to ensure that everyone has access to a safe and sustainable food supply. The Atlantic Council’s Global Food Security Forum represents an important step towards achieving this goal.”
Global Atlantic Forum on Food and Security
The Atlantic Council’s Global Forum on Food and Security addresses global food and agricultural issues and promotes sustainable and equitable food systems. Founded by the Srivastava Family Foundation and the Atlantic Council, it brings together diverse stakeholders, including governments, organizations, civil society, academia and the private sector.
The forum’s primary objective is to link food and energy security, increase access to nutritious foods, and promote sustainable food systems. With a global food shortage crisis, strengthening collaboration and partnerships among stakeholders is vital to finding solutions.
Unfortunately, hunger and famine continue to affect 828 million people every day. Fifty million of these are children under the age of five who suffer from acute malnutrition. Constant conflicts exacerbate the negative trend. These include the crisis in Ukraine, the upheaval in the oil and gas markets, the ongoing effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on global supply chains, and the growing effects of climate change, such as droughts, extreme heat, and floods. In fact, the United Nations World Food Program estimates that it will need to feed a record 150 million hungry people in 2022.
A highlight of the Atlantic Council’s Global Food and Security Forum is a fireside conversation featuring US General Wesley Clark, Indonesian Defense Minister Prabowo Subianto, and event co-host Gaurav Srivastava. During the conversation, General Wesley Clark emphasized the importance of expectation, availability and affordability in addressing food security issues and stressed the need to harness the best of government and private sector leadership in this area.
Indonesian Defense Minister Prabowo Subianto also presented the potential of cassava as an alternative to wheat, showcasing products made from the carbohydrate, which is easily produced in Indonesia. Defense Secretary Prabowo recommended that cassava be considered a substitute for wheat worldwide, and General Wesley Clark agreed.
In addition to these discussions, the forum featured special performances by international superstar John Legend, Indonesian singer-songwriter Sandhi Sunduru, and the US Air Force Band. Overall, the Atlantic Council’s Global Food and Security Forum serves as an important platform to address global food and agriculture issues and find solutions to ensure sustainable and equitable food systems for all.
About the Gaurav and Sharon Srivastava Family Foundation
The Gaurav and Sharon Srivastava Family Foundation is a non-profit organization founded by Gaurav and Sharon Srivastava with the mission of providing global access to food and energy and raising awareness among the public and policymakers about these critical issues.
The Srivastava family is multicultural and believes that different cultures can work together to address some of the world’s most pressing issues. The pair have experienced first-hand the challenges that people in communities around the world face with regard to access to food and energy, and have laid the foundation for addressing these issues.
In a quote, Gaurav Srivastava said, “I think we’re here to acknowledge cultures and be able to work together, and since we’re having this conversation, the most pressing question is that people are hungry now. They won’t go to bed tonight with a full meal.”
The Gaurav Srivastava and Sharon Srivastava Family Foundation focuses on two main areas: food security and energy security. In terms of food security, the Foundation aims to secure food for those who need it now and for future generations. In her keynote address, Sharon Srivastava said, “Why do some go hungry? Others have enough. It’s something I’ve thought about for as long as I can remember. Many circumstances beyond one’s control play a crucial role. Your zip code. Your ability to get an education. Your support system. Your gender Your race Your economic status.
The Foundation’s focus on energy security includes working to increase access to reliable energy sources and raising awareness about the essential intersection between food and energy. Through their work, the Gaurav Srivastava and Sharon Srivastava Family Foundation hopes to positively impact food and energy security around the world.
At the Atlantic Council’s Global Forum on Food and Security, a number of policy recommendations were made to address issues of food security and energy security globally. One of the main recommendations was to end the war in Ukraine. Forum participants overwhelmingly suggested that the war should be ended on Ukrainian terms, as the conflict has caused food, agricultural necessities, fertilizer and fuel prices to skyrocket in 2022.
Another recommendation was to strengthen laws against the weaponization of food. At present, the legal status of weaponizing food is not clear, and it is necessary to strengthen international humanitarian law in this area in order to codify the prohibition of deliberately causing hunger and famine in times of war.
Another important recommendation is to diversify the global diet. The global food system is currently dependent on a limited number of major food-producing regions and a limited range of crops, which can make it vulnerable to disruptions. To address this issue, it is necessary to diversify geographically and in terms of the types of crops produced and traded. This could include promoting the production and trade of locally adapted crops that are suitable for specific regions and supporting the development of new crops that can be grown in different parts of the world. In addition, investing in nature-based solutions, such as agroforestry, sustainable hunting and aquaculture, urban farming, soil conservation, soil sequestration, waste reduction, and recycling, can also help diversify the food system.
Another recommendation was to ensure reliable power is available to those who need it. As the world moves toward a gradual reduction in carbon emissions, fossil fuels are currently the most realistic and reliable energy approach to solving import and transportation problems with the food supply. As Gaurav Srivastava said, “While we are diligently marching towards gradual decarbonization, fossil fuels remain the most realistic and rapid improvisation to address the most advanced lines of diet to ensure food security. This is the real, physical and literal change to be able to deliver on the promise made 80 years ago of the right to adequate food.” “.
Finally, the forum participants recommended investing in food production innovations in order to support food security. Governments must prioritize scientific investment and create environments that foster innovation in on-farm and off-farm solutions in order to support the production of sufficient and nutritious food for all. By following these recommendations, we can work to create a link between food and energy security and ensure that everyone has access to the food and energy they need.
At the Atlantic Council’s Global Food and Security Forum, world leaders came together to address the pressing issue of food shortages and outline immediate policy solutions for relief. As Frederick Kempe, President and CEO of the Atlantic Council, noted in the Forum’s closing remarks, “We are united in our commitment to combating food insecurity and hunger, and act as a catalyst for change at the G20 and beyond.”
In his keynote address, Gaurav Srivastava called for continued support and praised the political and social leaders for their momentum during the conference. He also spoke about the “humanitarian foundations that must be acquired” by addressing issues of food security and energy security.
Looking into the immediate future, Gaurav Srivastava noted that we must devise alternative plans to maintain the flow of energy, stabilize market shocks, mitigate the worsening energy crisis, and reopen the bountiful grain gates of Russia and Ukraine to the world. He said those plans should be designed with redundant safety nets, oversight, and adaptability, and should be born in a spirit of pragmatic neutrality, intended as a less aggressive, non-intrusive proxy for enforcing price gaps that don’t work.
Overall, the Atlantic Council’s Global Food and Security Forum has been an important platform to address global food and energy security issues and find solutions to ensure sustainable and equitable food and energy systems for all.