Jokowi talks climate change, food security at G7 summit

France's President Emmanuel Macron and Indonesia's President Joko Widodo talk prior to a bilateral meeting at the G7 summit at Elmau Castle, Germany, on June 27, 2022. - Reuters

JAKARTA (The Jakarta Post/Asia News Network): President Joko 'Jokowi' Widodo appealed to the Group of Seven (G7) industrialised nations during a meeting in Germany that the world needed to address the global climate and food crises prompted by the war in Ukraine.

The President was in attendance at the G7 summit as one of five world leaders invited to join this year’s proceedings.

As current president of the Group of 20 (G20), he is on a broad-based mission to ensure that global recovery efforts at the forum of the biggest economies are not torpedoed by the excesses of the conflict.

Speaking at a G7 working lunch with other leaders at Schloss Elmau in the Bavarian Alps on Monday (June 27), Jokowi reiterated Indonesia’s G20 aim of achieving a clean and renewable energy transition as a means of mitigating climate change risks that many developing nations face.

He underlined that the risks of climate change were not just detrimental to the health of vast populations, but also to the livelihoods of many, such as farmers and fishermen.

“We appeal for the support of all G7 countries for Indonesia’s G20 presidency,” he said as he closed his speech, according to a Palace press statement.

At a G7 summit session on food security and gender equality, Jokowi called on all G7 and G20 countries to address the looming food crisis that also threatens developing countries to the point of hunger and poverty.

He cited a World Food Programme report estimating that this year, some 323 million people were in danger of facing acute food insecurity.

“We need to act fast to find concrete solutions. We need to increase food production. Food and fertiliser supply chains must return to normal,” the President said, alluding to the impacts of the war in Ukraine in disrupting global supply chains and exports coming out of the warring countries.

The Indonesian leader placed particular emphasis on the war’s effects on global food and fertiliser supply chains.

“A rice crisis impacting 2 billion people from the developing world awaits if we fail to act,” the President said. As such, he appealed that all G7 countries support the reintegration of Ukrainian wheat exports and Russian food and fertiliser exports into the global supply chain, amid the stifling effects of conflict and calls for more sanctions.

“The G7 and the G20 have a huge responsibility to address the food crisis. Let us honour our duties and start now,” he said.

As G20 president, Indonesia is calling on countries from around the world to “recover together, recover stronger” from the devastation of the Covid-19 pandemic. The conflict that erupted from the Russian invasion of Ukraine has stalled global recovery efforts and upended trade, putting Indonesia’s G20 platform in danger.

After making his point at the G7 summit, the President is expected to make the first visit by an Asian leader to Ukraine since the war erupted. Jokowi is expected to then go on to Russia, in the hope of ending the war and brokering peace.

Raft of meetings

In addition to attending the G7 summit, President Jokowi also held separate bilateral meetings with the leaders of India, France, Japan, Canada, Germany, the United Kingdom and Japan, as well as with the European Union and the International Monetary Fund (IMF), according to a debrief by Foreign Minister Retno LP Marsudi.

She said that in addition to broaching topics on bilateral cooperation, the war in Ukraine and its impacts on the global food supply chain became a recurring issue in many of the President’s meetings on Monday.

He insisted that the world did not have much time to address the disruptions and that failing to address them could lead to the suffering of billions of people.

“The President is clearly voicing the concerns of developing countries that are greatly affected by the war,” Retno said in a prerecorded press briefing late on Monday.

Besides that, the President briefed the leaders he met on the preparations for the G20 summit in Bali in November, with the minister noting that there was strong support for the Indonesian G20 presidency in the meetings.

Retno also said Jokowi would continue his trip onward to Ukraine via Poland, and that she was in contact with multiple parties to coordinate his visit in the fog of war.

“This is all I can share from Munich, Germany. The next updates, Insya Allah [God willing], will be given from Kyiv, Ukraine,” she said.

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