The COVID-19 pandemic is more than a health crisis. Over the last six months, we have witnessed its extreme socio-economic consequences, including grave threats to food security and nutrition. As the pandemic continues to take its toll and make an indelible mark on agri-food systems, organizations like the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), a member of CGIAR, are aligning their efforts to ensure a relevant, timely, and well-coordinated response to safeguard the health and livelihoods of the poorest and most vulnerable.
IRRI strongly supports the United Nations Secretary-General’s plea to work together and leverage concerted action to avoid the pandemic’s worst impacts to agri-food systems. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, in his recent Policy Brief on Food Security and Nutrition, calls on UN Member States to work together so the world can transition into more sustainable food systems that can withstand shocks similar to COVID-19.
IRRI supports and adds its voice to this call
In the past weeks, IRRI has put forth analysis and research and joined multi-stakeholder conversations related to COVID-19, which we hope could support policy- and decision-making across the countries where we work. We applaud the ongoing efforts by governments in Africa, Southeast Asia, and South Asia to mitigate the impacts of the pandemic and ensure the steady supply of rice.
We encourage our partners to sustain this momentum at such a critical time and reassure our partner governments and institutions that IRRI will continue providing innovative and transformative solutions for the rice sector through continued and intensified collaboration.
As an international institute, IRRI understands the importance of collective action and will do its part to encourage policy coordination and promote better trade facilitation among local and national governments, the private sector, and the greater international community. We also take this opportunity to reaffirm our resolve to provide scalable interventions and innovations to maintain and even increase progress to national targets in health, safety, environment, nutrition, and prosperity, guided by the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and informed by our expertise in rice research.
As IRRI enters its 60th year of working to solve food insecurity and global hunger, we reiterate our commitment to sustainable food systems transformation in Southeast Asia, South Asia, and Africa. We are one with CGIAR in moving best practice research and innovations, and we encourage our partners, donors, and stakeholders to support our food systems response to COVID-19.