PARIS – An action plan addressing food-price volatility and agriculture” will be submitted to world leaders in November, the G20 meeting of the agriculture ministers decided at the end of their recent meeting. Global food security and sustainable agriculture production must be the ultimate goal of any effective agriculture policy, at global and national level, they concluded.

Animal health was identified as a critical component of this goal and they stressed the “importance of strengthening international and regional networks, international standard setting taking into account national and regional differences, information, surveillance and traceability systems, good governance and official services, since they ensure an early detection and a rapid response to biological threats, facilitate trade flows and contribute to global food security”.

The declaration also strongly encourages the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE), Foreign and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), World Health Organization (WHO), Codex Alimentarius and International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC) to carry on their efforts towards enhancing interagency cooperation as far as public health, animal health and plant health are concerned.

International trade was recognized as being key for improving food security as markets are essential to allow more investments in agriculture and to increase agricultural production. Fair and open implementation of international trade “requires further cooperation in strengthening international governance of agricultural trade in favor of open, rules-based and well-functioning global markets for agricultural products, through the WTO and its agreements, such as the Agreement on the Application of Sanitary and Phytosanitary measures, and its rules based on scientific standards and recommendations developed by the relevant international standard setting bodies [Codex, OIE and IPPC].”

“The OIE very much welcomes the outcome of this G20” said Dr. Bernard Vallat, OIE director general. “It is an encouraging sign from G20 governments that the implementation of OIE animal-health standards can indeed play an important role in improving the world food security.”