Leadership on Climate Change and Global Food Security through the Vision for Adapted Crops and Soils
Press statement made by U.S. Secretary of State, Antony J. Blinken
The United States has long recognized the connection between the climate crisis and the global food crisis. Climate change is threatening our agricultural productivity and food systems and the ability — especially of the most vulnerable — to produce and access food in the face of mounting hunger, malnutrition, and economic stresses.
Today, 700 million people are undernourished. Projections show global demand for food over the next 25 years will increase 50 percent. Yet over the same period, prolonged droughts, horrific wildfires, and catastrophic storms exacerbated by climate change could reduce yields by as much as 30 percent. As President Biden has said, if parents cannot feed their children, nothing else matters. We have to act now.
The Vision for Adapted Crops and Soils (VACS) responds to climate change and the global food crisis by investing in climate-resilient, nutritious crop varieties and healthy, fertile soils. The United States is providing an additional $50 million in support of VACS through the International Fund for Agricultural Development’s (IFAD’s) Rural Resilience Program, pending congressional notification and availability of funds. This brings total U.S. support for VACS this year to $150 million.
VACS, a partnership initially with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, the African Union, The Rockefeller Foundation, and CGIAR, has now become a movement embraced by governments around the world, NGOs, the private sector, and others. We thank the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Japan, Norway, as well as Cargill and ADM for their recent financial commitments to support VACS.
Additionally, to recognize NGOs and the private sector who have spearheaded work that advances VACS goals, the United States is launching the VACS Champions Program. I congratulate Bayer AG, Catholic Relief Services, ADM, Concern Worldwide, and the One Acre Fund as inaugural champions. NGOs and the private sector are critical to addressing the challenges of climate change and the global food security crisis. We welcome these and future champions’ commitment, collaboration, and partnership in the global VACS movement.