Agriculture minister to attend UN Food Systems Summit - The Korea Times
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Agriculture minister to attend UN Food Systems Summit

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Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs Kim Hyeon-soo / Courtesy of MAFRA
Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs Kim Hyeon-soo / Courtesy of MAFRA

By Kim Jae-heun

The Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, Kim Hyeon-soo, will participate in the United Nation's Food Systems Summit, scheduled to be held online Thursday from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m., via video conference.

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres issued a statement Sept. 13 saying the meeting aims to set the stage for transforming the global food system by 2023 in line with the sustainable development goals (SDGs).

Guterres emphasized the importance of tangible, positive efforts by various constituencies to change the world's food systems into a more sustainable direction, saying, "In food, there is hope."

Representatives from U.N. member states and other international non-government organizations will make remarks on ways to improve the World Food Programme, the leading humanitarian organization for fighting hunger. Other participants will include young leaders, food producers, Indigenous people, civil society organizations, researchers and leaders from the private sector.

Minister Kim will express Korea's willingness to offer international aid and present the country's new food plan.

This year's United Nation's Food Systems Summit is the fifth such meeting held since 1974, established to integrate various food-related problems with the vision of achieving sustainable food production and consumption systems. It invites member countries of the U.N. to participate in international efforts to improve global food systems.

Anyone can pre-register and watch the "People's Summit" online via

One Sept. 16, the Korean government announced its food plan for the first time, which aims to increase the public reserves of major crops, such as rice, in order to solve food security issues both during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond.

In addition, it plans to implement a "consumption deadline labeling system" starting in 2030, in order to reduce unnecessary food waste occurring in the food consumption stage, and to strengthen "the basic right to food" for the vulnerable.

Food security has grown more important than ever due to the recent rise in international grain prices and logistics disruptions during the pandemic.

From March to June 2020, some of the world's largest wheat producing countries, including Russia, imposed export restrictions that raised international concerns. Accordingly, the United Nations stressed the importance of the need to change the global food system in line with the SDGs, such as improving food security and responding to climate change, as well as urging member states to activelyparticipate.

The Korean government has decided to increase public stockpiles, focusing on major food crops such as rice, wheat and beans, so as to enable a stable food supply if the country faces an emergency situation such as another unexpected pandemic or other crises in global supply chains.


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