Pre-recorded speech of H.E. Xavier Bettel, Prime Minister and Minister of State of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg at the United Nations Food Systems Summit, on 23 September 2021
Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen, it is with great pleasure that I am talking to you today.
Food insecurity remains one of the most alarming challenges we face today. It is even further intensified by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and the climate crisis.
The preparatory work for this summit has underlined the importance of cooperation and collaboration at all levels, be they local, national and international, in order to reorient our current food systems towards greater inclusiveness and sustainability. It was heartening to see how many people from so many different countries, cultures and communities joined – either in person or virtually. It truly makes me believe that if we can succeed in reaching so many people, discuss some of the most urgent issues of our times and share innovative ideas, practices and lessons - we can succeed in transforming our current food systems.
Talking about food systems means looking at the bigger picture: how food, climate, technology, gender, environment, agriculture and health are connected. How we produce and how we consume.
Let us never forget that the right to food is a human right and it is our responsibility to make sure that every single one of us has access to sufficient, sustainable and nutritious food.
In this context, my country Luxembourg is particularly proud to join the school meals coalition and I have very much been looking forward to its official launch here at the Summit in New York.
We believe that supporting the establishment of effective school meal programs represents a smart investment into future generations as well as into more sustainable humanitarian action and development aid. School meals can be a true catalyst for change and facilitate the creation of opportunities, especially for girls and women, who have been hit the hardest by the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
We also recognize the vital role that school meals play for the local economy, especially when using locally grown food. While the COVID-19 pandemic has exposed the fragility of food systems and the resulting closing of schools has significantly impacted school meal programs worldwide, it has also once again highlighted the importance “local ownership” and it has pushed us to reflect more deeply on how to build back better and stronger.
You can count on Luxembourg’s support and solidarity.
We look forward to the coalition’s important contribution to the reorientation of food systems and to fostering a more sustainable and equal world for future generations.
Thank you for your attention.